Degradation of Cry1Ab protein from genetically modified maize (MON810) in relation to total dietary feed proteins in dairy cow digestion

Transgenic Res. 2010 Aug;19(4):683-9. doi: 10.1007/s11248-009-9339-z. Epub 2009 Nov 4.


To investigate the relative degradation and fragmentation pattern of the recombinant Cry1Ab protein from genetically modified (GM) maize MON810 throughout the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of dairy cows, a 25 months GM maize feeding study was conducted on 36 lactating Bavarian Fleckvieh cows allocated into two groups (18 cows per group) fed diets containing either GM maize MON810 or nearly isogenic non-GM maize as the respective diet components. All cows were fed a partial total mixed ration (pTMR). During the feeding trial, 8 feed (4 transgenic (T) and 4 non-transgenic (NT) pTMR) and 42 feces (26 T and 18 NT) samples from the subset of cows fed T and NT diets, and at the end of the feeding trial, digesta contents of rumen, abomasum, small intestine, large intestine and cecum were collected after the slaughter of six cows of each feeding group. Samples were analyzed for Cry1Ab protein and total protein using Cry1Ab specific ELISA and bicinchoninic acid assay, respectively. Immunoblot analyses were performed to evaluate the integrity of Cry1Ab protein in feed, digesta and feces samples. A decrease to 44% in Cry1Ab protein concentration from T pTMR to the voided feces (9.40 versus 4.18 mug/g of total proteins) was recorded. Concentrations of Cry1Ab protein in GIT digesta of cows fed T diets varied between the lowest 0.38 mug/g of total proteins in abomasum to the highest 3.84 mug/g of total proteins in rumen. Immunoblot analysis revealed the extensive degradation of recombinant Cry1Ab protein into a smaller fragment of around 34 kDa in GIT. The results of the present study indicate that the recombinant Cry1Ab protein from MON810 is increasingly degraded into a small fragment during dairy cow digestion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Dairying
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Digestion / genetics
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Endotoxins / analysis
  • Endotoxins / genetics
  • Endotoxins / metabolism*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Food, Genetically Modified
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Hemolysin Proteins / analysis
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lactation / metabolism
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics*
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


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