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Degradation of transgenic Cry1Ab DNA and protein in Bt-176 maize during the ensiling process

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Maize silage is commonly used as feed for farm animals. The aim of this study was to monitor the time-dependent degradation of non-recombinant chloroplast DNA (exemplified by the rubisco gene) in comparison with the recombinant cry1Ab gene in the course of the ensiling process. In parallel, the Cry1Ab protein content and fragment sizes were determined. Fragments of the rubisco (173, 896, 1197, 1753 and 2521 bp) and of the cry1Ab gene (211, 420, 727 and 1423 bp) were selected to investigate the DNA degradation process. The detection of the Cry1Ab protein was performed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting. Rubisco gene fragments of 173 bp were still detectable after 61 days, while fragments of 1197 and 2521 bp were detectable up to 30 days and on the first day only respectively. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses revealed that fragments of the cry1Ab gene with sizes of 211 and 420 bp were detectable up to 61 days, fragments with sizes of 727 and 1423 bp, 30 and 6 days respectively. The ELISA showed a decrease of the Cry1Ab protein in maize silage during the ensiling process. No marked degradation was observed during the first 43 h. Thereafter, a sharp decrease was measured. After 61 days, 23.6 ± 0.9% of the initial Cry1Ab protein was still detectable. Immunoblotting confirmed the results of the ELISA showing a positive signal of approximately 60 kDa size for 8 days of ensiling; no further immunoactive fragments were detectable by immunoblotting. In conclusion, the ensiling process markedly decreases the presence of long functional cry1Ab gene fragments and full size Cry1Ab protein.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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