In the past four years, the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona (CSIC-IBMB) has a biological Quantitative Analysis Service. It specializes in the detection, identification and quantification of GMOs (genetically modified organisms, GMOs) in food, human and animal, and agricultural.
It was the first laboratory detection service created in Spain and may analyze GM in raw materials such as soybeans or corn, to establish whether are or not transgenic plants, but also the products of their processing, such as oil, beer or lecithin, as well as products that incorporate them (pasta, potato starch, dietary supplements, infant porridge or cookies, etc.).
The end of the European moratorium, which has stalled for five years the market of new GMOs, is accompanied by a stricter standard for labeling. Any product with more than 0.9% of GMOs has declared that the accidental presence of GMOs without accounting is permitted only if the amount is less than 0.5%. Higher percentages have to be declared. This involves constant monitoring of products, both to ensure that no GMO is there, to check that, if anything, this is as it says on the label. In this regard, the Department of Biological Quantitative Analysis can do both qualitative analysis (to detect if and what) and quantitative (percentage of transgenic) as seed certification, labeling and product traceability. Analyzing from seed to oil, beverages or meals.
The laboratory also participates in European research projects and national initiatives to develop new protocols and methods of DNA extraction and analysis as well as systems to ensure the traceability of GMOs throughout the chain. One of the challenges is to analyze the DNA in any matrix. It is a typical problem of food prepared or very prepared. The more processed a product is, says Teresa Esteve, head of the Service, "is more complicated to extract and analyze DNA from the sample, either because little DNA can be either because they can be degraded."
Therefore, a European network of laboratories, in which this laboratory IBMB-CSIC is, is developing and validating various protocols to analyze samples more complex. Among the recent work of this team of the CSIC, is developing new protocols to detect the DNA in the beer, among others, as well as research on the new GM is expected to approve. Another project currently underway, together with laboratories in Belgium, France and UK, is adapting the technology of DNA chips for identification and quantification of GMOs. These chips are a fast tool for analysis and will adapt to foreseeable future that will increase GM approved and circulated in the market.
Source: R & D CSIC