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Detection of airborne genetically modified maize pollen by real-time PCR

Authors

  • SILVIA FOLLONI,

    1. Molecular Biology and Genomics Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra, VA, Italy
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  • DAFNI-MARIA KAGKLI,

    1. Molecular Biology and Genomics Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra, VA, Italy
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  • BOJAN RAJCEVIC,

    1. Molecular Biology and Genomics Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra, VA, Italy
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  • NILSON C. C. GUIMARÃES,

    1. Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento, Laboratório Nacional Agropecuário, LANAGRO-MG/Diagnóstico Vegetal e OGM—DVO, Avenida Rômulo, Joviano, s/n, Cx. Postal 50, 33600-000 Pedro Leopoldo, MG, Brazil
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  • BART VAN DROOGENBROECK,

    1. Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
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  • FERNANDO H. VALICENTE,

    1. Embrapa Milho e Sorgo, Rod. MG 424 KM 45, Cx. Postal 285, 35701-970 Sete Lagoas, MG, Brazil
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  • GUY VAN den EEDE,

    1. Molecular Biology and Genomics Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra, VA, Italy
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  • MARC VAN den BULCKE

    1. Molecular Biology and Genomics Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra, VA, Italy
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Marc Van den Bulcke, Fax: +39 0332 785483; E-mail: marc.van-den-bulcke@ec.europa.eu

Abstract

The cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops has raised numerous concerns in the European Union and other parts of the world about their environmental and economic impact. Especially outcrossing of genetically modified organisms (GMO) was from the beginning a critical issue as airborne pollen has been considered an important way of GMO dispersal. Here, we investigate the use of airborne pollen sampling combined with microscopic analysis and molecular PCR analysis as an approach to monitor GM maize cultivations in a specific area. Field trial experiments in the European Union and South America demonstrated the applicability of the approach under different climate conditions, in rural and semi-urban environment, even at very low levels of airborne pollen. The study documents in detail the sampling of GM pollen, sample DNA extraction and real-time PCR analysis. Our results suggest that this ‘GM pollen monitoring by bioaerosol sampling and PCR screening’ approach might represent an useful aid in the surveillance of GM-free areas, centres of origin and natural reserves.

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