NMR metabolic profiling of transgenic maize with the Cry1Ab gene

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 22;57(14):6041-9. doi: 10.1021/jf900811u.


The metabolic profiles of seeds from the transgenic maize variety 33P67 and of the corresponding traditional variety were investigated using one- and two-dimensional NMR techniques. The transgenic variety carries a functional Cry1A(b) gene, which confers to the plant the ability to produce Bt insect toxin. About 40 water-soluble metabolites in the maize seed extracts were identified, providing a more complete (1)H and (13)C NMR assignment with respect to the assignment reported in the literature. In particular ethanol, lactic acid, citric acid, lysine, arginine, glycine-betaine, raffinose, trehalose, alpha-galactose, and adenine were identified for the first time in the (1)H NMR spectrum of maize seeds extracts. The (1)H spectra of transgenic and nontransgenic seed maize samples turned out to be conservative, showing the same signals and therefore the same metabolites. However, a higher concentration of ethanol, citric acid, glycine-betaine, trehalose, as well as of another compound not yet completely identified, was observed in the transgenic extracts than in nontransgenic samples. So, it was possible to discriminate between transgenic and nontransgenic metabolic profilings through the use of an appropriate statistical analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Endotoxins / genetics*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Metabolome*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Zea mays / chemistry
  • Zea mays / genetics*


  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Endotoxins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • insecticidal crystal protein, Bacillus Thuringiensis