Author(s): Hammond BG, Jez JM
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Abstract The food safety assessment of new agricultural crop varieties developed through biotechnology includes evaluation of the proteins introduced to impart desired traits. Safety assessments can include dietary risk assessments similar to those performed for chemicals intentionally, or inadvertently added to foods. For chemicals, it is assumed they are not degraded during processing of the crop into food fractions. For introduced proteins, the situation can be different. Proteins are highly dependent on physical forces in their environment to maintain appropriate three-dimensional structure that supports functional activity. Food crops such as corn and soy are not consumed raw but are extensively processed into various food fractions. During processing, proteins in corn and soy are subjected to harsh environmental conditions that drastically change the physical forces leading to denaturation and loss of protein function. These conditions include thermal processing, changes in pH, reducing agents, mechanical shearing etc. Studies have shown that processing of introduced proteins such as enzymes that impart herbicide tolerance or proteins that control insect pests leads to a complete loss of functional activity. Thus, dietary exposure to functionally active proteins in processed food products can be negligible and below levels of any safety concerns. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Food Chem Toxicol
and referenced in Journal of Glycobiology