Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans

Food Chem. 2014 Jun 15:153:207-15. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.12.054. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


This article describes the nutrient and elemental composition, including residues of herbicides and pesticides, of 31 soybean batches from Iowa, USA. The soy samples were grouped into three different categories: (i) genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GM-soy); (ii) unmodified soy cultivated using a conventional "chemical" cultivation regime; and (iii) unmodified soy cultivated using an organic cultivation regime. Organic soybeans showed the healthiest nutritional profile with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, significantly more total protein, zinc and less fibre than both conventional and GM-soy. Organic soybeans also contained less total saturated fat and total omega-6 fatty acids than both conventional and GM-soy. GM-soy contained high residues of glyphosate and AMPA (mean 3.3 and 5.7 mg/kg, respectively). Conventional and organic soybean batches contained none of these agrochemicals. Using 35 different nutritional and elemental variables to characterise each soy sample, we were able to discriminate GM, conventional and organic soybeans without exception, demonstrating "substantial non-equivalence" in compositional characteristics for 'ready-to-market' soybeans.

Keywords: Agricultural practice; GMO; Herbicide residues; Nutrition; Pesticides; Substantial equivalence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Food, Genetically Modified* / economics
  • Food, Organic / analysis*
  • Food, Organic / economics
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Glycine max / chemistry*
  • Glycine max / economics
  • Glycine max / genetics
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides / analysis*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / chemistry*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Soybean Proteins / analysis
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Carbohydrates
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Zinc
  • Glycine