Food safety considerations for the assessment of a genetically modified tomato fortified for folate production

  • Marianela Araya-Quesada
  • Bruno Mezzetti
  • George Tzotzos


Tomatoes are a very important part of the Mediterranean diet. The possibility of a much healthier tomato option represents a great opportunity for the population to enhance their daily diet. Folate is an important bioactive compound for human health and increasing folate content in tomatoes can contribute to reduce some of the problems associated with this deficiency. In this review, the new option of a biofortified tomato produced by the use of DNA recombinant technology will be discussed in terms of food safety of the new genetically modified product. The possibility to increase folate content has been recently demonstrated through two modifications: the first was based on the development of a synthetic form of engineered GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCHI) (based on mammalian synthesis), which was introduced in the plants to prevent the retroinhibition of the GCHI (folate precursor) in plants; the second was based on the pteridine-overproduction trait expressing the aminodeoxychorismate synthase (AtADCS) from Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetically modified tomatoes, able to accumulate an average of 25-fold more folate than controls, were produced. These fruits could provide the complete adult daily requirement in less than one standard serving. The modification also resulted in a 20 times higher accumulation of pteridines and PABA as compared with the wild-type control. The possible risks and benefits derived from the GM modification of the tomato, and the safety of the final product for consumers will be discussed.


Transgenic food Tomato Folate fortification Food safety Risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianela Araya-Quesada
    • 1
  • Bruno Mezzetti
    • 2
  • George Tzotzos
    • 3
  1. 1.Plant Biotechnology, UNIDO-UNIVPM programTriesteItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali e delle Produzioni VegetaliMarche Polytechnic UniversityAnconaItaly
  3. 3.Technology Unit UNIDOUNIDO, PTC/PEMViennaAustria

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