AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org
From: Meredith Lloyd Evans - BioBridge
Subject: licences to contaminate
To: The Editor Independent
Fury from environmentalists is predictable (GM plan 'a licence to
contaminate' page 2 Monday 4 June) whenever their propaganda and
scaremongering is overturned by international science-based and realistic
decisions. GM crops and foods have been tested extensively over the past
15 years, trillions of GM plants have been grown and been turned into
animal feed and human food, and no signs of safety or environmental
problems have been seen, despite detailed work to discover this.
The attitude of anti-GM people, while it may seem to be aimed at 'big' US
science and the companies developing it (and be praised in some quarters
because of that), has in fact set back the cause of food safety and
security all over the world for people less fortunate than ourselves, who
subsist at or below the recognised safe nutritional level. It is not the
US that bullies the rest of the world, it is environmentalists, consumer
groups and the organic movement who are bullying us into rejecting
advances that are already yielding better, safer food with less
environment risk than either conventional or organic farming, in parts of
the world that have accepted biotechnology as an essential part of
agriculture. You do everyone a disservice by slanting your reportage
towards a negative, agitating interpretation.
For example - GM ingredients banned in EU are only so because they haven't
yet gone through the regulatory process here - there is nothing sinister
in this, they have not been found wanting when scientifically-assessed;
and the insect-resistance gene and protein in Starlink maize is extremely
unlikely to be unsafe for humans, far safer in fact than the organic
equivalents sprayed on crops and inhaled by the people in the field.
Mr Meredith Lloyd-Evans,
Managing Partner Arcadia International eeig; 45 St Barnabas Road,
Cambridge CB1 2BX tel +44 1223 566850, fax +44 1223 470222
June 1, 2001
North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office
COMMUNIQUE SENT BY THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT
At 3:15am on Monday, May 21, the research of Toby Bradshaw was reduced to
smoke and ashes. We attacked his office at the University of Washington
while at the same time another group set fire to a related target in
Clatskanie, Oregon, 150 miles away.
Bradshaw, the driving force in G.E. tree research, continues to unleash
mutant genes into the environment that is certain to cause irreversible
harm to forest ecosystems.
After breaking into Bradshaw's office at the Center for Urban Horticulture,
we inspected the building for occupants and set up incendiary devices with
a modest amount of accelerant. Although we placed these devices
specifically to target his office, a large portion of the building was
damaged. This extensive damage was due to a surprisingly slow and poorly
coordinated response from the fire department, which was evident by their
As long as universities continue to pursue this reckless "science," they
run the risk of suffering severe losses. Our message remains clear: we are
determined to stop genetic engineering.
From the torching of Catherine Ive's office at Michigan State University
to the total incineration of GE seeds at the D & PL warehouse in Visalia,
CA, the Earth Liberation Front is growing and spreading. As the culture of
domination forces itself into our very genes, wild fires of outrage will
continue to blaze.
Early Monday morning, May 21, we dealt a blow to one of the many
institutions responsible for massive hybrid tree farming in the Northwest.
Incendiary devices at Jefferson Poplar in Clatskanie, Oregon, burned an
office and a fleet of 13 trucks. Unfortunately, due to a design flaw, one
targeted structure was left standing. We torched Jefferson Poplar because
hybrid poplars are an ecological nightmare threatening native biodiversity
in the ecosystem. Our forests are being liquidated and replaced with
monocultured tree farms so greedy, earth raping corporations can make more
Pending legislation in Oregon and Washington further criminalizing direct
action in defense of the wild will not stop us and only highlights the
fragility of the ecocidal empire.
As we wrote in Clatskanie "You cannot control what is wild."
Earth Liberation Front
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 16:11:18 -0700
From: "Meilan, Rick"
Subject: FW: ELF Editorial
Colleagues and Friends:
Below is the text of a press release from Greenwood Resources. It is
Greenwood's response to ELF's recent act of terrorism against their poplar
farm in Clatskanie, Oregon. I have been given permission to distribute it
as I see fit.
Protecting the Environment
By GreenWood Resources, Inc.
David Austin/VP of Business Development
1 SW Columbia, Suite 1720, Portland, OR 97258
503 274 0438 (W) 503 702 9245 (M)
It is often difficult to decide when or when not to respond to attacks
directed towards what your company is trying to do. Sometimes a response
provides the attention the attackers are hoping to get from their actions.
With the recent violence directed at our small business by the ELF
terrorists, we wanted to tell the story of what our company is trying to do
rather than respond to an act of violence that is recognized for what it
As reported two weeks ago, ELF terrorists attacked our small business
because we grow poplar trees commercially on farmland. This farm provides
a sustainable chip supply to local paper mills, and in the years to come a
sustainable supply of saw logs to hardwood mills in the region. With the
need to manage our natural timberlands for multiple benefits, this
agricultural timber resource helps in providing a new resource to meet
reduction in wood supply from natural timberlands in a sound economic and
environmental approach. Our company bases its mission on a business
strategy that helps our farmers, conserves our forests, promotes the
health of the environment and supplies sustainable forest products to our
It is no secret that there is a struggle between balancing the competitive
needs of the environment with the economy. As our natural forests are
being conserved and harvests reduced by federal mandates and state
regulations, new sustainable timber resources must be grown to maintain a
healthy forest products industry. GreenWood Resources was founded with
the direct intention of balancing those needs through the development and
management of our poplar tree farms around sustainable development
principles. Our company knows it is these kinds of enterprising
operations and entrepreneurial spirits that are providing real benefits to
our environment and communities. Terrorist attacks, as displayed at our
operations, are only a deterrent to the kind of environmental and business
approaches that will lead to a better world.
Our company and its employees focus on wise stewardship of our resources
and offer real solutions to the struggle between economics and
environment. We start by developing the trees we plant through a time
honored technology that mankind has used for hundred of years called
cross-pollination. Cross-pollination amongst poplar (i.e. cottonwood)
happens naturally in the environment, as it does with other plants.
Notable farmer Thomas Jefferson cross-bred several varieties of peas at
his farm in Virginia and stated that "the greatest service which can be
rendered any country is to introduce a
useful plant to its culture." In our business, we develop hundreds of
varieties to ensure diversity within the plantation and surrounding
eco-system. It should be clearly known, we do not develop, propagate or
grow genetically modified organisms (GMO's), nor do we mass produce a
single mono-culture crop on cut-over natural timberlands. Our trees are
planted on farmland and are managed as an agricultural crop.
Like Jefferson, we believe that our work at GreenWood Resources is a
tremendous service to our region's two oldest industries, timber and
agriculture, because we are offering new opportunities to more closely
link these industries to one another. By using traditional breeding
techniques nature has given us, we have developed various high-yielding
tree crops that maintain an excellent degree of genetic diversity. We use
agricultural practices to create a sustainable wood flow for our region's
mills, while increasing the economic strength of the rural communities and
improving the health of our environment through increased wildlife and
combating the ever
increasing greenhouse gas problem.
For the past decade, our staff has worked with US Fish and Wildlife to
successfully restore the population of the endangered Lower Columbia White
Tail Deer on our plantation. Additionally, the Audubon Society conducted
a survey on our lands and noted that waterfowl and other bird life
populations dramatically increased in the region because of the increased
habitat provided by the trees. Nearly twenty five percent of our farm's
land is designated for environmental purposes that serve as buffer areas
and wildlife refuges.
The right approach to the struggle between economics and environment is to
take the debate public as has been shown successfully over the years
through organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Environmental
Defense Fund, Audubon Society and others. The ELF operates in secret, and
their spokesmen encourage covert violence then willfully misrepresents the
truth to justify their aggression. This will not bear fruit long term.
The root of change in America is to declare and publicly act; this grows
from the spirit of when our founding fathers publicly signed their names,
their fortunes and
their sacred honor to free this country. Martin Luther King, Jr. publicly
spoke and marched and things changed. As concerned environmentalists, our
company is using the public institutions of the markets and legal system
to protect our natural heritage while supporting the economic needs of
those rural communities most closely attached to the environment.
In the end, we are confident that our society will embrace the principles
of sustainable development and live in balance with the environment
because it is the right thing to do -- not because terrorists forced us.
GMO'S SAFER THAN CONVENTIONAL CROPS?
June 5, 2001
VIB Press Release
The VIB report entitled "Safety of Genetically Engineered Crops" triggers
further discussion on what safety standards to apply to genetically
modified crops. Ghent - The VIB report published today, "Safety of
Genetically Engineered Crops", shows more in detail how the risk
assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops works and on what data the
conclusions of authorities are based.
The report concludes that the GM crops currently on the market are as safe
as their conventional counterparts. The report also tries to look into the
future and discusses some of the issues for the safety assessment of
future GM crops. The report was initiated as part of VIB's mission to
stimulate a scientifically well-founded dialogue on biotechnology (more
The VIB-report "Safety of Genetically Engineered Crops" is divided into
(1) food safety
(2) vertical gene flow
(3) non-target effects
(5) horizontal gene flow
Scientific contributions on these topics were made by experts in these
fields, respectively: Ib Knudsen and Jan Pedersen (Institute of Food
Safety and Toxicology, Soborg, DK), Klaus Ammann (Botanical Garden, Bern,
CH), Julian Kinderlerer (University of Sheffield, UK), André Penninks
(TNO-nutrition, Zeist, NL), and Philippe Gay (GMOs consultant, Asnières,
Each author has provided an overview of data and information used in the
risk assessment of GM crops. They concluded that for the GM crops
currently on the market from a safety point of view there are no problems.
On the other hand they do formulate some concerns for the future when the
modifications of crops may become much more complex, and for which there
may be a need to develop some additional assessment tools. These tools are
currently being developed, especially for food safety and allergenicity
and they are discussed in the report. The authors also explicitly state
that several of the concerns expressed about the safety of genetically
engineered crops, apply just as well to a number of the conventional bred
varieties, for which no explicit safety testing is required by the current
When looking at the safety assessment of GM crops separately one will
stillimprove this assessment - every day new knowledge and methods are
produced that can be used to increase the level of certainty of absence of
undesired effects - but on the other hand this development does not go
handin hand with an improvement of the safety level of conventional
varieties, where in fact there is a situation of a standstill (no safety
required). This makes the report conclude that when the developments in
the safety assessment of genetically engineered crops go on at the same
pace as today, in the future the situation may be such that GM crops may
become safer than conventional crops.
What are the safety levels that we achieve? From a political, consumer and
environmental point of view an improved safety level and less
uncertainty about the possible effects of GM crops is of course applauded,
but the report also concludes that "a better definition of what types of
environmental effects are acceptable, and how much uncertainty about the
absence of unwanted environmental effects is acceptable can greatly
help the risk assessment of GM crops. This would even be more so if this
understanding would be translated into a set of broadly defined
criteria for these crops". A 100% certainty or zero risk is impossible to
achieve, and therefore we have to be more explicit about what safety level
we want to
achieve, placing GM crops into perspective with other technologies
capableof producing new crop varieties.
Request your free copy of the report "Safety of Genetically Engineered
Crops" at email@example.com or download it as PDF-file from www.vib.be.
Following is the text of a letter written by Prof. Stanley Weeraratna
who is a Professor at the University of
Rajarata, Sri Lanka in response to his government's banning of
agbiotech product imports.
What is wrong with GM Food
Prof. C.S. Weeraratna
Faculty of Agriculture
Rajarata University, Sri Lanka
Any living organism has a genetic composition which determines its
characteristics. This genetic composition may undergo changes which
are called mutations. These mutations are spontaneous or man-made.
Spontaneous mutations have been going on since the beginning of life
resulting in the development of new varieties from the so called wild
varieties. With the increase in knowledge in Genetics and Plant
Breeding, breeders have been able to develop a large number of new
varieties of plants. The genetic composition of these varieties are
different from that of the older varieties. Genetic engineering is a
process in which the genetic composition of a variety is modified
by transferring a gene from either the same or another variety
resulting in new variety. Invariably the resultant has better
characteristics. For example in the last few decades, by Genetic
Engineering (breeding) a number of new varieties of crop species such
as rice, tomato, maize, papaw etc. have been developed. These new
crop varieties are obviously better than the old varieties in many
respects. We have consumed the produce of these Genetically modified
varieties without any problem. If plant breeders have not produced
these varieties with better traits, severe food shortages would have
occurred long time ago. For example, in Sri Lanka, the increase in
average rice production (kg/ha) from around 1500 kg/ha to 3500 kg/ha
during the last three decades is mainly attributable to high
yielding varieties developed by the rice-breeders in the Dept. of
Agriculture. These high yielding rice varieties such as BG varieties
were developed mostly by modifying the genetics of existing rice
varieties by breeding and we have been consuming these genetically
modified rice varieties for the last few decades. Like in the case of
rice, we consume many other crop varieties which have been
genetically modified over the years.
With the development of fields such as Molecular Biology and
Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering has advanced to a great extent. In
this field, attempts are made to modify a specific gene in a variety
so that the new variety has an improved trait. This process, also
called recombinant DNA technology, has made it possible more rapid
development of new varieties containing a desirable trait/s. Thus, it
has become possible to introduce a characteristics such as resistance
to a specific herbicide or a pest into a variety. This has enabled
the growers to reduce application of a pesticide. At present a
large extent of lands are cultivated with GM plant varieties. The
more common GM varieties are maize, soybean, tomato cotton, etc. Most
of these crops are cultivated in USA. The total land area under GM
crops in the world at present is around 40 million hectares.
Cultivation of GM varieties has made it possible to increase yields,
reduce the use of some pesticides, increase the quality of the
produce, reduce inputs etc. resulting in reducing costs, a major
factor to reckoned in food production.
Consumption of GM plant products:A large extent of land has been
cultivated with GM varieties and the products of these crops are
consumed in many countries. The results of a large number scientific
studies conducted and reported in scientific journals indicate that
there is no difference between the GM and other food in relation to
their toxicities. The products of GM plants are used in various ways
but mostly in a processed form, except perhaps tomato. During the
process of manufacturing various food products from GM crops, their
chemical composition is likely to get changed and invariably, the
compounds that may cause toxicities/allergies tend to get
Some argue that the GM plants have certain compounds toxic to a
specific pest species and hence are toxic to man too. These types of
compounds are found in all types of plants. For example, the in-built
resistance in a plant species/variety to a specific pest is usually
due to the presence of a compound toxic to the specific pest. For
example all crops belonging to Solanaceous family (chillies, tomato,
brinjal, tobacco etc) are susceptible to bacterial wilt caused by
Pseudomonas Solanacearum but the crops belonging to the family
Leguminosea are not affected by this bacteria. This is because
leguminous crops contain a compound, which is toxic to this bacteria.
A large number of common food plants contain one or more such
bioactive compounds which may be toxic or beneficial. These
compounds, which are usually present in minute amounts, are likely to
get decomposed during the process of cooking. A very good example for
such detoxification is found in cassava. When stale cassava is boiled
an extremely toxic compound HCN tends to form. This toxic compound
gets evaporated resulting in detoxification. Similarly any toxic
chemical compound that is present in the food is likely to get
evaporated or decomposed. At the time of consuming products from GM
plants, the cells/tissues are all dead and hence, it is possible that
there are no toxic compounds present. However, it is not possible to
completely rule out that these GM products are completely free of
toxic compounds unless they are analyzed. This is extremely expensive
and may not be practical. GM food have been consumed in many
countries and up to now no toxic effects have been reported.
Cultivation of GM plants: Cultivation of GM plants, unlike their
consumption may cause problems. These plants have a completely new
genetic composition and when such plants are cultivated on large
scale, an organism ( a weed, an insect, a bacteria, a fungus or a
virus) which has not hitherto become a pest may develop into a pest .
Nraml Foods: Producers, manufacturers and sellers of normal food (not
GM foods) in Sri Lanka very often add harmful/toxic substances such
as pesticides and other chemicals to food, and these contaminated
food are sold freely in the market. There were many newspaper reports
indicating that formalin treated fish were sold for consumption. A
large number of eating-places are filthy. Long distance buses stop at
hotels which cater to a few thousands daily and most of these hotels
are unhygienic. Solid/liquid wastes accumulating/rotting in public
places emit toxic substances to the environment and are breeding
grounds for many lethal/harmful micro and macro organisms. Public
places such as main bus stands (for example the Central Bus Stand in
Pettah) are stinking. Various types of "Drugs " which are supposed
to cure/control certain diseases/conditions are freely imported. No
one knows how harmful these "Drugs" are. Various types of pesticides,
which are extremely toxic, and alcohols, which have disastrous
effects even socio-economically, are available freely in almost every
town. A mixture of microorganisms called EM is used in crop
production. No one knows whether this EM has any undesirable
after-effects. Even the Dept. of Agriculture has not approved the use
of EM but, a number of farmers use EM. A few weeks ago, it was
reported that infected seed potato has been imported and the Dept. of
Agriculture was frantically calling the potato growers to not to use
this seed potato. This is the state of affairs in the country.
Recently the Ministry of Health has banned the importation of around
20 food items including soya products, tomato pulp, potato products
etc. without a certificate from an accredited laboratory or
government authority of the exporting country certifying that the
food product does not contain any ingredient that has been
genetically modified. It is not possible for the local authorities to
test even on random basis, the validity of such a certificate or
whether any food contains GM ingredients. Hence, this ban imposed by
the Ministry of Health cannot be properly implemented. If the
Ministry of Health is really keen that our people consume healthy and
safe food, then taking appropriate action on the local issues
indicated above should be given priority to banning GM food.
(Note: A considerable amount of data on GM food is available on the
Internet. Some of the information reported in this paper was obtained
from this source)
Preserving habitat through high-tech farming
By Dennis T. Avery
June 6, 2001
CHURCHVILLE, Va.--The World Conservation Union and Future Harvest
(representing Third World agricultural researchers) have just issued a
path-breaking wildlife conservation report declaring that high-yield
"ecoagriculture" must be a major part of the world's efforts to save
The World Conservation Union, a major international conservation group
headquartered in Switzerland, is breaking step with such organizations as
Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.
That's probably because the World Conservation Union includes some 10,000
conservation experts and scientists in its membership, along with Third
World government agencies and non-government organizations working in
places where, before their eyes, wild species and wildlife habitat are
being lost to low-yield farming.
Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have a history of endorsing only low-yield
organic farming, especially in the Third World, without much regard for
how human inhabitants will be fed. Such organizations essentially
represent urban elites in North America and Europe--regions that produce
The joint report from the World Conservation Union and Future Harvest
recommends ecoagriculture, with higher yields to save more room for
wildlife. They also want better conservation use of non-cultivated
farmland such as stream banks, irrigation canals, lanes and roadsides,
uncultivated strips within fields, windbreaks, hedgerows, marginal acres,
woodlots, industrial plantations and special sites conserved for cultural
or religious reasons.
The groups believe farmers will be more willing to encourage wildlife
habitat in such spaces if new technologies and farming systems raise the
yields on their best soils--so they gain in total production and crop
In the wet, windy mountains of northeast Costa Rica, dairy calves died of
wind chill and parakeets stole the coffee berries from the farmers' trees.
In 1989, the Conservation League of Monteverde worked with farmers in 19
communities to create 150 hectares of windbreaks.
They planted a mix of local and exotic trees, including the colpachi.
Parakeets prefer the colpachi fruit to the coffee berries, while the
windbreaks also serve as important biological corridors connecting the
remaining forest patches in the area.
One study found the seeds from 174 different plant species in the
windbreaks. Birds dispersed 95 times as many seeds (mainly wild trees) in
the windbreaks as in the surrounding pastures.
In the European Union, farmers can get payments for environmental services
such as creating bird habitat on their farms. One strategy is to plant
special seed mixtures that create wild bird feeding and nesting sites in
small strips and plots distributed strategically around the farms. These
don't detract much from the farm's productivity and significantly increase
the distribution of habitat.
The joint report also mentions the conservation impact of the EU's sr
cropland setaside. In Britain, for example, the EU pays farmers not to
plant crops on 600,000 acres, making set-aside the third-largest land use
in the lowlands after grass and cereals.
Cropland set-aside may make good conservation sense in the intensely
developed landscape of southeast England. However, each acre of high-yield
farmland put into set-aside may eventually force the plow-down of two
acres of forest somewhere else to make up for the lost production.
Farm trade must also play an increasing role in feeding the 21st century,
especially for land-short Asia. The United States has set aside a great
deal of cropland--more than 30 million acres of "conservation reserve"
lands--mostly on the Great Plains, where there is already a great deal of
wildlife habitat, few wild species and few residents to enjoy them.
More effective may be the recent U.S. emphasis on using its conservation
payments to encourage grassy strips along stream banks. Such grassy strips
prevent soil particles and nutrients from degrading the streams. In
addition, the grassy strips provide year-round cover and food for birds
and small animals.
The tenor of the environmental debate is bound to change by the thoughtful
endorsement of high-yield farming by an environmental group as prestigious
as the World Conservation Union.
Until now, eco-groups have been marching lockstep in support of the myth
that organic farming can feed the world while protecting wildlife from
harsh agricultural chemicals. But organic farmers' yields are little more
than half as high as those of conventional modern farmers.
My peer-reviewed estimate is that modern farming has saved more than 16
million square miles of wildlands from plow-down. The world's current
forest area is...16 million square miles.
Whether the world supports or hamstrings high-yield farming in the 21st
century is the biggest wildlife conservation issue facing the world.
Until now, the environmental organizations have pitted people against
wildlife, in a contest the wildlife can't win. The World Conservation
Union has challenged the conservation credentials of every other wildlife
DENNIS T. AVERY is based in Churchville, Va., and is director of global
food issues for the Hudson Institute of Indianapolis. His views are not
necessarily those of BridgeNews, whose ventures include the Internet site
New Report Finds Half of World's Protected Nature Reserves Heavily Farmed
as Hunger Runs Rampant in Biodiversity "Hotspots"
Need to Feed Human Population Puts Wildlife at Risk of Extinction; New
Solution Proposed in "Ecoagriculture" to Save Biodiversity, Feed Hungry
Agriculture Keen On GE Field Trials; Genetic Technology 'Cannot Be Ignored'
June 6, 2001
The Department of Agriculture wants to continue field experiments into
genetically engineered plants, despite a cabinet guideline urging they be
Permanent secretary Petipong Pungbun na Ayutthaya of the Agriculture
Ministry said the department was prepared to ask the government to review
its position. "The ministry would forward its decision to Deputy Prime
Minister Pongpol Adireksan, who chaired a committee which handled GMO
issues," he said. Mr Petipong said the field trials were necessary.
However, the department's position contradicts a policy guideline proposed
by the Assembly of the Poor and adopted by cabinet last month, which urged
that all GE field trials be stopped as GE plants continue to spread in
open fields. The guideline appears to have the support of the two deputy
agriculture and co-operatives ministers, Prapat Panyachartraksa and Natee
Mr Petipong said continuing field experiments did not necessarily mean the
country would eventually go GE.
"We cannot ignore biotechnology which is the technology of the future," he
said during a department workshop on GMO. As a major food exporter,
Thailand had to take biosafety and food safety seriously. Preventive
measures would build public confidence.
Mr Petipong said agriculture and commerce officials would work together to
impose controls on imported GE raw materials.
The decision disappointed Witoon Lianchamroon, director of BioThai, who
said interest groups were not consulted. Deputy Minister Natee had
promised a joint committee, comprising the ministry, farmers and NGOs, to
look into field experiments, and set the direction, scale and scope of GE.
Mr Natee said that idea hadn't been put in place yet. "That committee
would deal with GE issues at the policy level," he said. It was possible
the ministry's decision would be overruled.
Healthier Cooking Oil From Transgenic Cotton
The Hindu Business Line
June 5, 2001
The world's first genetically modified cotton plant has been developed to
produce healthier cooking oils and margarines by Australia's Central
Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Cottonseed oil is used extensively as an ingredient in margarines and
cooking oils, particularly in the food service sector. However, to make it
suitable for these uses it is generally subjected to a process known as
'hydrogenation' which can produce cholesterol-raising trans-fatty acids as
"Oil from our improved cottonseed is suitable for cooking purposes without
the need for hydrogenation," says Dr Allan Green, leader of the research
team, in a CSIRO statement. "Products made from these oils will be
healthier because they will not contain trans-fatty acids."
To produce the new oils, the scientists 'switched off' genes in cottonseed
that normally convert oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, into
polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturates are nutritionally valuable,
but break down under extreme heat, making them unsuitable for cooking
"The hydrogenation process converts the polyunsaturates back into
monounsaturates, but we have prevented their formation in the first
place," according to Dr Qing Liu, the scientist who genetically modified
cotton. "By turning off the gene that produces polyunsaturates, we have
produced for the first time an inherently high-oleic cottonseed oil. We
haven't added any foreign genes to the cotton to achieve this, but have
reintroduced a very small amount of the cotton plant's own DNA."
The healthy high oleic cottonseed oil will remain stable under high
temperatures, making it a suitable replacement for hydrogenated oils and
saturated oils in food service applications.
In a related development, CSIRO research team has also successfully used
gene technology to alter the proportions of saturated fatty acids in
cottonseed oil. Saturated fatty acids provide the solid properties that
make cottonseed oil useful in margarine production.
About a quarter of cottonseed oil is made up of two saturated fatty acids,
called palmitate and stearate. Conventional cottonseed contains mostly
palmitate, with small amounts of stearate. Nutritionists believe that
stearate does not raise blood cholesterol, but palmitate does.
Dr Liu modified the cottonseed so that it produces stearate instead of
palmitate, making it a healthier product for margarines.