Growing concerns over genetically modified foods have many consumers on the lookout for more information.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs’) may be added to some foods to increase their beneficial properties. For instance, to boost nutrient levels or to make crops less susceptible to insects.
Many in the food industry adhere to current labeling guidelines, accurately stating the contents in their products and whether or not they are GMO free. However, both consumers and regulatory expectations are demanding more detailed information to be inclusive of all food products.
Researchers have zoned in on this concern, and have actually developed an interesting tool for detecting if food has been subject to genetic modification. Published in the American Chemical Society, the resource is called the multiplex amplification on a chip with readout on an oligo microarray system, or in short, MACRO.
There are already existing methods for identifying modified crops, but this test is significant in that it can successfully scan and find genetic modification with only 1 administration instead of several different ones. It is also said to be more productive in detection than other methods and is able to find up to 97% of existing commercial GMO applications. The research team also stated that the test will still be applicable in the future too, as it will be able to test additional types of crops.
The researchers reported that by the close of 2012 there were 28 countries with over 420 million acres of agricultural farmland containing genetically modified crop plantings. They note that this is 100 times higher than when the commercial production of GMO’s started in 1996.
The MACRO assessment will make it much easier to detect genetically altered crops, allowing the information to be more readily available. It also has the potential to make labeling standards clearer for those who want to learn more about their food before it is on the plate.
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