Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of feeding genetically modified Bt MON810 maize to ∼40-day-old pigs for 110 days on growth and health indicators

  • S. G. Buzoianu (a1) (a2), M. C. Walsh (a1), M. C. Rea (a3), J. P. Cassidy (a4), R. P. Ross (a3), G. E. Gardiner (a2) and P. G. Lawlor (a1)...


A total of 72 male weaned pigs were used in a 110-day study to investigate the effect of feeding genetically modified (GM) Bt MON810 maize on selected growth and health indicators. It was hypothesised that in pigs fed Bt maize, growth and health are not impacted compared with pigs fed isogenic maize-based diets. Following a 12-day basal period, pigs (10.7 ± 1.9 kg body weight (BW); ∼40 days old) were blocked by weight and ancestry and randomly assigned to treatments: (1) non-GM maize diet for 110 days (non-GM), (2) GM maize diet for 110 days (GM), (3) non-GM maize diet for 30 days followed by GM maize diet up to day 110 (non-GM/GM) and (4) GM maize diet for 30 days followed by non-GM maize diet up to day 110 (GM/non-GM). BW and daily feed intake were recorded on days 0, 30, 60 and 110 (n = 15). Body composition was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (n = 10) on day 80. Following slaughter on day 110, organs and intestines were weighed and sampled for histological analysis and urine was collected for biochemical analysis (n = 10). Serum biochemistry analysis was performed on days 0, 30, 60, 100 and 110. Growth performance and serum biochemistry were analysed as repeated measures with time and treatment as main factors. The slice option of SAS was used to determine treatment differences at individual time points. There was no effect of feeding GM maize on overall growth, body composition, organ and intestinal weight and histology or serum biochemistry on days 60 and 100 and on urine biochemistry on day 110. A treatment × time interaction was observed for serum urea (SU; P < 0.05), creatinine (SC; P < 0.05) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST; P < 0.05). On day 30, SU was lower for the non-GM/GM treatment compared with the non-GM, GM and GM/non-GM treatments (P < 0.05). On day 110, SC was higher for the non-GM/GM and GM/non-GM treatments compared with non-GM and GM treatments (P < 0.05). Overall, serum total protein was lower for the GM/non-GM treatment compared with the non-GM/GM treatment (P < 0.05). The magnitude of change observed in some serum biochemical parameters did not indicate organ dysfunction and the changes were not accompanied by histological lesions. Long-term feeding of GM maize to pigs did not adversely affect growth or the selected health indicators investigated.


Corresponding author


Hide All
2006/576/EC 2006. Commission recommendation of 17 August 2006 on the presence of deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, T-2 and HT-2 and fumonisins in products intended for animal feeding. Official Journal of the European Union 229, 79.
Aeschbacher, K, Messikommer, R, Meile, L, Wenk, C 2005. Bt176 corn in poultry nutrition: physiological characteristics and fate of recombinant plant DNA in chickens. Poultry Science 84, 385394.
Aumaitre, A, Aulrich, K, Chesson, A, Flachowsky, G, Piva, G 2002. New feeds from genetically modified plants: substantial equivalence, nutritional equivalence, digestibility, and safety for animals and the food chain. Livestock Production Science 74, 223238.
Baum, N, Dichoso, CC, Carlton, CE 1975. Blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine: physiology and interpretations. Urology 5, 583588.
Bollen, PJA, Hansen, AK, Rasmussen, HJ 2000. The laboratory swine. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Boone, L, Meyer, D, Cusick, P, Ennulat, D, Bolliger, AP, Everds, N, Meador, V, Elliott, G, Honor, D, Bounous, D, Jordan, H 2005. Selection and interpretation of clinical pathology indicators of hepatic injury in preclinical studies. Veterinary Clinical Pathology 34, 182188.
Brake, J, Faust, MA, Stein, J 2003. Evaluation of transgenic event Bt11 hybrid corn in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 82, 551559.
Casteel, SW, Turk, JR, Cowart, RP, Rottinghaus, GE 1993. Chronic toxicity of fumonisin in weanling pigs. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 5, 413417.
Chowdhury, EH, Kuribara, H, Hino, A, Sultana, P, Mikami, O, Shimada, N, Guruge, KS, Saito, M, Nakajima, Y 2003. Detection of corn intrinsic and recombinant DNA fragments and Cry1Ab protein in the gastrointestinal contents of pigs fed genetically modified corn Bt11. Journal of Animal Science 81, 25462551.
Custodio, MG, Powers, WJ, Huff-Lonergan, E, Faust, MA, Stein, J 2006. Growth, pork quality, and excretion characteristics of pigs fed Bt corn or non-transgenic corn. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 86, 461469.
Dona, A, Arvanitoyannis, IS 2009. Health risks of genetically modified foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 49, 164175.
EFSA 2008. Safety and nutritional assessment of GM plants and derived food and feed: the role of animal feeding trials. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46 (Supp 1), S2S70.
EU/165/2010/ 2010. Commission Regulation (EU) No. 165/2010 of 26 February 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs as regards aflatoxins. In Official Journal of the European Union 50, 812.
Fares, NH, El-Sayed, AK 1998. Fine structural changes in the ileum of mice fed on delta endotoxin-treated potatoes and transgenic potatoes. Natural Toxins 6, 219233.
Finamore, A, Roselli, M, Britti, S, Monastra, G, Ambra, R, Turrini, A, Mengheri, E 2008. Intestinal and peripheral immune response to MON810 maize ingestion in weaning and old mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56, 1153311539.
Flachowsky, G, Aulrich, K, Böhme, H, Halle, I 2007. Studies on feeds from genetically modified plants (GMP) – contributions to nutritional and safety assessment. Animal Feed Science and Technology 133, 230.
Hammond, BG, Dudek, R, Lemen, JK, Nemeth, MA 2006. Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain from corn borer-protected corn. Food and Chemical Toxicology 44, 10921099.
Hyun, Y, Bressner, GE, Fischer, RL, Miller, PS, Ellis, M, Peterson, BA, Stanisiewski, EP, Hartnell, GF 2005. Performance of growing–finishing pigs fed diets containing YieldGard Rootworm corn (MON863), a nontransgenic genetically similar corn, or conventional corn hybrids. Journal of Animal Science 83, 15811590.
ILSI 2007. Best practices for the conduct of animal feed studies to evaluate genetically modified crops. Washington, DC, USA.
James, C 2010. Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2010. ISAAA Brief No. 42, Ithaca, NY.
Kaneko, JJ 1980. Clinical biochemistry of domestic animals, 3rd edition. Academic Press, New York, NY, USA.
Kilic, A, Akay, MT 2008. A three generation study with genetically modified Bt corn in rats: biochemical and histopathological investigation. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46, 11641170.
Lawlor, PG, Lynch, PB, Caffrey, PJ, O'Doherty, JV 2003. The effect of choice feeding complete diets on the performance of weaned pigs. Animal Science 76, 401412.
Lewis, AJ, Southern, LL 2001. Swine nutrition, 2nd edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Malarkey, T 2003. Human health concerns with GM crops. Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research 544, 217–221.
Martinez-Poveda, A, Molla-Bauza, MB, del Campo Gomis, FJ, Martinez, LM-C 2009. Consumer-perceived risk model for the introduction of genetically modified food in Spain. Food Policy 34, 519528.
Mosenthin, R, Sauer, WC, de Lange, CF 1992a. Tracer studies of urea kinetics in growing pigs: I. The effect of intravenous infusion of urea on urea recycling and the site of urea secretion into the gastrointestinal tract. Journal of Animal Science 70, 34583466.
Mosenthin, R, Sauer, WC, Henkel, H, Ahrens, F, de Lange, CF 1992b. Tracer studies of urea kinetics in growing pigs: II. The effect of starch infusion at the distal ileum on urea recycling and bacterial nitrogen excretion. Journal of Animal Science 70, 34673472.
Moughan, PJ, Birtles, MJ, Cranwell, PD, Smith, WC, Pedraza, M 1992. The piglet as a model animal for studying aspects of digestion and absorption in milk-fed human infants. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics 67, 40113.
NRC 1998. Nutrient requirements of swine, 10th edition. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.
Piva, G, Morlacchini, M, Pietri, A, Piva, A, Casadei, G 2001. Performance of weaned piglets fed insect protected (MON810) or near isogenic corn. Journal of Animal Science 79 (suppl. 1)/Journal of Dairy Science 84 (suppl. 1)/Poultry Science 80 (suppl. 1)/54th Annual Reciprocal Meat Conference, vol. II, p. 106.
Radostits, OM, Gay, CC, Hinchcliff, KW, Constable, PD 2007. Veterinary medicine: a textbook of the diseases of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses, 10th edition. Elsevier Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Reuter, T, Aulrich, K, Berk, A 2002. Investigations on genetically modified maize (Bt maize) in pig nutrition: fattening performance and slaughtering results. Archives of Animal Nutrition 56, 319326.
Ryan, WF, Lynch, PB, O'Doherty, JV 2011. Effect of dietary phosphorus on the development of bone mineral density of pigs assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Livestock Science 137, 101107.
Sanden, M, Berntssen, MHG, Krogdahl, Å, Hemre, G, Bakke-Mckellep, AM 2005. An examination of the intestinal tract of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., parr fed different varieties of soy and maize. Journal of Fish Diseases 28, 317330.
Schnepf, E, Crickmore, N, Van Rie, J, Lereclus, D, Baum, J, Feitelson, J, Zeigler, DR, Dean, DH 1998. Bacillus thuringiensis and its pesticidal crystal proteins. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 62, 775806.
Schrøder, M, Poulsen, M, Wilcks, A, Kroghsbo, S, Miller, A, Frenzel, T, Danier, J, Rychlik, M, Emami, K, Gatehouse, A, Shu, Q, Engel, K-H, Altosaar, I, Knudsen, I 2007. A 90-day safety study of genetically modified rice expressing Cry1Ab protein (Bacillus thuringiensis toxin) in Wistar rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology 45, 339349.
Shimada, N, Murata, H, Mikami, O, Yoshioka, M, Guruge, KS, Yamanaka, N, Nakajima, Y, Miyazaki, S 2006. Effects of feeding calves genetically modified corn Bt11: a clinico-biochemical study. The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 68, 11131115.
Stonard, MD 1990. Assessment of renal function and damage in animal species. A review of the current approach of the academic, governmental and industrial institutions represented by the animal clinical chemistry association. Journal of Applied Toxicology 10, 267274.
Swindle, MM 2007. Swine in the laboratory: surgery, anaesthesia, imaging and experimental techniques in swine, 2nd edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Trabalza-Marinucci, M, Brandi, G, Rondini, C, Avellini, L, Giammarini, C, Costarelli, S, Acuti, G, Orlandi, C, Filippini, G, Chiaradia, E, Malatesta, M, Crotti, S, Antonini, C, Amagliani, G, Manuali, E, Mastrogiacomo, AR, Moscati, L, Naceur Haouet, M, Gaiti, A, Magnani, M 2008. A three-year longitudinal study on the effects of a diet containing genetically modified Bt176 maize on the health status and performance of sheep. Livestock Science 113, 178190.
van der Meulen, J, Bakker, GC, Bakker, JG, de Visser, H, Jongbloed, AW, Everts, H 1997. Effect of resistant starch on net portal-drained viscera flux of glucose, volatile fatty acids, urea, and ammonia in growing pigs. Journal of Animal Science 75, 26972704.
Wal, JM, Hepburn, PA, Lea, LJ, Crevel, RWR 2003. Post-market surveillance of GM foods: applicability and limitations of schemes used with pharmaceuticals and some non-GM novel foods. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 38, 98104.
Walsh, MC, Buzoianu, SG, Gardiner, GE, Cassidy, JP, Rea, MC, Ross, RP, Lawlor, PG 2011. Effects of short-term feeding of Bt MON810 maize on growth performance, organ morphology and function in pigs. In British Journal of Nutrition 107, 364371.
Willis, HJ, Eldridge, AL, Beiseigel, J, Thomas, W, Slavin, JL 2009. Greater satiety response with resistant starch and corn bran in human subjects. Nutrition Research 29, 100105.
Younes, H, Demigné, C, Behr, S, Rémésy, C 1995a. Resistant starch exerts a lowering effect on plasma urea by enhancing urea N transfer into the large intestine. Nutrition Research 15, 11991210.
Younes, H, Garleb, K, Behr, S, Rémésy, C, Demigné, C 1995b. Fermentable fibers or oligosaccharides reduce urinary nitrogen excretion by increasing urea disposal in the rat cecum. The Journal of Nutrition 125, 10101016.


Effect of feeding genetically modified Bt MON810 maize to ∼40-day-old pigs for 110 days on growth and health indicators

  • S. G. Buzoianu (a1) (a2), M. C. Walsh (a1), M. C. Rea (a3), J. P. Cassidy (a4), R. P. Ross (a3), G. E. Gardiner (a2) and P. G. Lawlor (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed