Rat feeding trials: A comprehensive assessment of contaminants in both genetically modified maize and resulting pellets

Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 Nov;121:573-582. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.09.049. Epub 2018 Sep 22.


We analyzed a comprehensive set of contaminants in MON810 and NK603 genetically modified (GM) maize, and their non-GM counterparts, used in a rat feeding study (the GMO90 + project). Both the maize grains and the manufactured pellets were characterized. Only minor differences in contaminant levels between GM and corresponding non-GM harvests were evidenced. Fumonisin and deoxynivalenol mycotoxins were the pollutants present in the highest amounts, with concentrations that were however largely below acceptance reference values. Our data reporting slightly lower levels of fumonisin in MON810 compared to its non-GM counterpart corroborate the lower susceptibility of insect resistant Bt maize to fumonisin-producing fungi. Traces of glyphosate (0.016 mg/kg) were evidenced in grains from NK603 treated crops. Regarding the pellets, analysis of more than 650 potentially toxic substances revealed low amounts of various mycotoxins, pesticides and heavy metals. Concentrations of contaminants quantified in the pellets were however far below the maximum level of residues values set by regulatory agencies, and no substantial differences in contaminants between GM and non-GM pellets were observed. Moreover, when comparing the contamination status of grains and pellets, we demonstrate yet again that characterizing the grains is actually not sufficient to foresee the quality of the produced pellets.

Keywords: GM maize; GM pellets; Heavy metals; Mycotoxins; Pesticides.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis Toxins
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Diet
  • Endotoxins / genetics*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food, Genetically Modified
  • Fumonisins / chemistry*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Rats
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Zea mays / genetics*


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