QDo GMOs contain more agglutins or amylase inhibitors compared to nonGMO crops?

Do GMOs contain more agglutins or amylase inhibitors compared to nonGMO crops?

AExpert Answer

The simple answer is that 20+ years of composition assessments of GMO crops have demonstrated that crop composition is not appreciably affected by the GM process (1). In addition, data collected through that time have indicated that general factors such as the growth environment can contribute to notable variation in component levels (2).

Plant agglutinins (or lectins) and amylase inhibitors are examples of anti-nutritional compounds that may be present in crops. The relevance of such a compound is a characteristic of a crop; some crops contain appreciable levels, while others do not. Where needed, specific processing approaches, such as heating, are used to deactivate or remove anti-nutrient compounds and enable safe use of the crop products. 

For a number of crops, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has developed documents that review common uses of the crop and suggest the key components to be assessed for GM varieties. Those components encompass the key nutrients, toxicants, and anti-nutrients for that crop. Thus, for a crop where lectin or amylase inhibitor is considered a key anti-nutrient, for example, lectin in soybean, that compound is typically assessed in a GM variety.


  1. Herman and Price, 2013, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61:11695.  Unintended Compositional Changes in Genetically Modified Crops: 20 Years of Research.
  2. Harrigan et. al., 2010, Nature Biotechnology, 28: 402.  Natural Variation in Crop Composition and the Impact of Transgenesis.
Posted on March 1, 2018
Addressing world hunger is exceedingly complex, as we currently produce enough food to feed the global population, but still 815 million people in the world were estimated as chronically undernourished in 2016. And while global population growth is slowing, world population is still expected to rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. More needs to be done to address disparities in access to adequate nutrition (see FAO 2017), but it is clear that... Read More
Posted on February 28, 2018
The term “superweeds” is the most commonly used slang for a weed that has become resistant to one or more herbicide mechanisms of action. In reality, there is no such thing called “super” about herbicide-resistant weeds. To remove this common misconception about superweeds, the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) in 2014 published a two-page fact sheet. This publication also clarifies the common myth of the development of superweeds because of GMO crops. There is no... Read More
Posted on March 1, 2018
Bill Reeves, Regulatory Policy & Scientific Affairs Manager of Chemistry at Monsanto, addresses this complex topic of antibiotic resistance and GMOs in a couple similar questions he has answered. “Antibiotic resistance genes are used in some GMOs to identify plants where the added DNA has been successfully incorporated. While this idea could understandably lead to questions -- Antibiotic resistance genes in my food? -- multiple safety reviews conducted... Read More