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Physical and Economic Constraints to Isolation of Transgenic Grains

C.  Physical and Economic Constraints to Isolation of Transgenic Grains

       Many specialized grains, such as genetically engineered nonfood/nonfeed pharmaceutical or industrial products, will require extremely stringent isolation from staple commodities.

       Other grains, such as conventionally-bred modified oil soybeans, will require market-driven isolation to satisfy consumer demands. 

       Yet others with only agronomic benefits, such as Roundup Ready® soybeans, must be channeled away from markets averse to GM crops in general. 

       For security and customer needs, traceability is becoming more necessary, even for commodity products.


Objectives for FY 06


1.      Identify every operation potentially impacting grain quality and purity from seed purchase to end-user delivery, either from accidental or malicious mixing.

2.      For each operation, review the available scientific and general information to estimate its potential impact on quality, purity, genetic transfer, the need for standard operating procedures and documentation, and the potential requirements for educational efforts. 

3.      Describe research and information gaps which, if filled, would sharpen isolation abilities, reduce risk, identify operating costs, and facilitate necessary quality management systems.

4.      Develop a model, template, and application protocol for future product-specific evaluations.

5.      Support the international (ISO) standards development, ISO 22001, for agricultural systems and participation in European segregation/traceability standards efforts TRACE and COExtra.


Expected Outputs


·        A report with flowcharts and supporting description showing quality control points in the corn and soybean marketing systems from seed purchase to end-user delivery.

·        An inventory of existing service providers, certifiable isolation systems, training materials, and other related materials of potential use in a certifiable isolation system.

·        Publishable review of research/information needs and strategy options for private and public entities.  Strategy options will include response to customer or government traceability requirements, for example, the European Union or Homeland Security proposals.

·        A method with supporting spreadsheets or similar for product-specific evaluation of future isolation needs.

·        A conceptual information technology system to support product tracking within the grain market.

·        This project will develop the structure, operational, and documentation needs for isolation and associated traceability in the Corn Belt. 

·        Operations from planting to end-use will be assessed for their potential to contribute either accidental or malicious mixing. 

·        Available scientific information, current quality management system services in use, and future needs will be described. 

·        Generic data from three case studies (low linolenic soybeans, Market Choices® corn, and a pharma corn) will be assembled and a format for collection of future product-specific information will be developed. 

·        Physical management requirements and costs will be determined. 

·        International standards proposal will likely result. 

·        Bioterrorism/biosecurity issues are essentially traceability questions; this project will organize the discussion of this topic as requested by the Advisory Committee.


Charles Hurburgh, Principal Investigator

1) Production operations                       Mike Owen

2) Business and marketing                     Roger Ginder

3) Grain handling                                   Charles Hurburgh

4) Processing operations                       Lawrence Johnson

5) Inventory, administration                   Greg Bennet (RA)

6) Items across areas                            Charles Hurburgh