In the midst of rumors and anti-GMO rhetoric, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to improve crop health as well as potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.
Aflatoxins are found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts. In the U.S., farmers can be turned away for having as few as 20 parts per billion of the toxin, or about 40 highly contaminated kernels in a bushel of corn, according to the University of Kentucky. One part per million is the equivalent of two minutes in two years. It doesn’t take much to be turned away.
“This [the new GMO corn] will make a difference in the U.S., but it will make the biggest difference in the undeveloped world,” says Monica Schmidt, University of Arizona researcher. “There they don’t test corn [for aflatoxins] and about 4.5 billion people consume the toxin.” Read more