Animal feeding studies for nutritional and safety assessments of feeds from genetically modified plants: a review

  • Gerhard FlachowskyEmail author
  • Helmut Schafft
  • Ulrich Meyer
Review article


In the future there will be a very strong competition between arable land use for phytogenic biomass production for feed/food, fuel, fibre and other industrial materials, as well as for settlements and natural conservation areas because of the growing population and limited natural resources. Therefore plants with high and stable yields, and requiring low external inputs (low input varieties) should be the main aim of plant breeding. In addition to traditional breeding, plant biotechnology seems to have the potential to contribute to this objective. Nutritional and safety studies with feed/food made from such modified plants are one of the most important prerequisite for public acceptance, and to improve knowledge in the feed/food sciences. The first step for the nutritional and safety assessment of such modified plants is the compositional analysis of potential feed/food, including the newly expressed proteins and other new constituents, and its comparison with conventional counterparts. In vitro studies and experiments with laboratory animals comprise the next steps of the assessment. About 70–90 % of the harvested biomass from genetically modified plants (GMPs) is consumed by food producing animals. Therefore, feeding studies with target animals are of special concern for nutritional assessment, and these are considered in more detail in the present paper. Up to now most studies have been done with GMPs of the 1st generation (plants with input traits, but without substantial changes in composition). Other experimental designs for nutritional and safety assessments are recommended for GMPs with output traits or with substantial changes in composition (plants of the 2nd generation).


Genetically modified plants (GMP) Nutritional and safety assessment Composition Types of feeding studies 


Zukünftig ist infolge weiter ansteigender Erdbevölkerung und knapper werdender natürlicher Ressourcen ein noch intensiverer Wettbewerb um landwirtschaftliche Nutzfläche bzw. pflanzliche Biomasse für die Erzeugung von Lebens- und Futtermitteln, Energie, industriellen Rohstoffen als auch um Flächen für Siedlungen und Naturschutz zu erwarten. Deshalb sollte die Entwicklung von Pflanzen mit hohen und stabilen Erträgen bei geringem Ressourceneinsatz (low input varieties) das Hauptziel der Pflanzenzüchtung sein. Neben der traditionellen Pflanzenzüchtung scheint die Pflanzenbiotechnologie ein beachtliches Potenzial zur Realisierung dieser Zielstellung zu haben. Entsprechende Studien zur Bewertung des ernährungsphysiologischen Wertes und der Sicherheit sind eine wesentliche Voraussetzung für die öffentliche Akzeptanz der aus diesen Pflanzen hergestellten Futter- und Lebensmittel. Derartige Studien leisten auch bedeutsame Beiträge zur Verbesserung der Kenntnisse auf dem Gebiet der Futter und Lebensmittelkunde. Der erste Schritt zur ernährungsphysiologischen und Sicherheitsbewertung von Futter-/Lebensmitteln aus gentechnisch veränderten Pflanzen (GVP) ist die Bestimmung der Inhaltsstoffe einschließlich des/der neu ausgeprägten Proteins/e sowie weiterer neu gebildeter Stoffe und der Vergleich mit herkömmlichen (isogenen) Partnern. In vitro Studien und Versuche mit Labortieren sind die nächsten Schritte der Bewertung. Da 70–90 % der von GVP geernteten Biomasse in der Tierernährung eingesetzt werden, sind Fütterungsstudien mit Lebensmittel liefernden Tiere (Zieltieren) von besonderer Bedeutung für die ernährungsphysiologische Bewertung der Futtermittel und werden im Beitrag im Detail betrachtet. Bisher wurden vor allem Fütterungsversuche mit Futtermitteln aus GVP der 1. Generation (ohne wesentliche Veränderungen von Inhaltsstoffen; Pflanzen mit Input traits) durchgeführt. Andere Versuchsansätze sind zur ernährungsphysiologischen und Sicherheitsbewertung von Futter- und Lebensmitteln aus GVP der 2. Generation (Pflanzen mit substantiellen Veränderungen von Inhaltsstoffen; Pflanzen mit Output traits) erforderlich.


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Copyright information

© Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Flachowsky
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helmut Schafft
    • 2
  • Ulrich Meyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal Nutrition, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI)Federal Research Institute for Animal HealthBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)Unit Feed and Feed AdditivesBerlinGermany

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