The committee’s objective in this chapter was to examine the evidence that supports or negates specific hypotheses and claims about the risks and benefits associated with foods derived from GE crops. As acknowledged at the beginning of the chapter, understanding the health effects of any food, whether non-GE or GE, can be difficult. The properties of most plant secondary metabolites are not understood, and isolating the effects of diet on animals, including humans, is challenging.
As discussed above, most proteins, including those in GE and conventionally bred crops, are at least partially digested in the stomach by the action of pepsin that is maintained by the acidic pH of the stomach in most people. Further digestion and absorption are a function of the small intestine, where amino acids and dipeptides and tripeptides are absorbed. Therefore, an effect of a dietary protein on the microbiota, whether from GE or non-GE foods, is unlikely. However, there is some evidence that Bt proteins can be toxic to microorganisms (Yudina et al., 2007), and some nondegraded Bt protein is found within the lumen of the gut but not in the general circulation of pigs (Walsh et al., 2011). Buzoianu et al. (2012c, 2013a) studied the effect of Bt maize feeding on microbiota composition in pigs.
This also gives smallholder farmers the ability to know whether their cocoa passes EU regulations for pesticide use, enabling those farmers to access the lucrative export markets directly. The last decade of research has brought a tremendous surge in our understanding of the intestinal microbiome and its role in a wide range of human diseases. Metagenomic studies have linked disturbances in the bacterial composition of the intestinal microbiome to various health conditions, including allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, and cancer. Researchers want dynamic medical and genetic data and people want to participate more directly in research.
As coffee contains numerous compounds that have been shown to have neurophysiological effects, it is necessary to understand how its use could be impacting cognitive functioning and metabolic rate. Students will be able to develop and test hypotheses to determine if coffee can be used to improve cognition or metabolism by performing cognitive and metabolic testing. Meal kits that may sit at a home owners door for 2 or more hours can be at risk for temperature abuse which can lead to microbial growth at levels that can cause food safety concerns. Entamoeba histolytica is a human pathogen that causes dysentery in ~90 million people each year.
The medicinal uses of this plant in the Caribbean region, as well as its chemistry, biological activity, toxicity and dosages, are discussed by Germosén-Robineau (1997). Details of the active chemical compounds, effects, herbal usage and pharmacological literature of this plant are given in Fleming (2000).
Simulated gastric fluid was developed to represent human gastric conditions in the stomach and is used in bioavailability studies of drugs and foods (U.S. Pharmacopeia, 2000). Newer Methods for Assessing Substantial Equivalence. As explained in Chapter 2, governance of GE crops includes regulatory governance. Although not required to by governing bodies, companies and academic researchers have moved beyond the typical measurements of food composition to newer technologies that involve transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.
The new methods provide a broad, nontargeted assessment of thousands of plant characteristics, including the concentrations of most of the messenger RNAs, proteins, and small molecules in a plant or food. These methods are more likely to detect changes in a GE crop than the current regulatory approaches. If a GE crop has been changed only as intended, any changes observed in these -omics measurements theoretically should be predictable in a given environment. The science behind the methods, including the current limitations of their interpretation, is discussed in Chapter 7.
In agreement with this conclusion, organophosphate pesticides considered to cause endocrine disruption contribute the largest annual health cost within the EU due to human exposures to such compounds, and these costs are primarily due to neurodevelopmental toxicity, as discussed below. Plant protection in conventional agriculture is largely dependent on the use of synthetic pesticides.
Food served in the traditional South Indian manner is termed banana leaf rice. Plain white or parboiled rice would be served with an assortment of vegetable preparations, lentil gravy, pickles, condiments, and papadum crackers on a banana leaf, which acts as a disposable plate. Banana leaf meals are eaten to celebrate special occasions such as festivals, birthdays, marriages, or to commemorate funeral wakes. It is customary to consume banana leaf meals by hand and to show appreciation for the food by folding the banana leaf inwards, though less ritual and etiquette is observed when the meal isn’t part of a formal occasion, such as the Malayalee community’s elaborate Sadya feasts. Boiled eggs, meat or seafood dishes are available at banana leaf restaurants which are not exclusively vegetarian or vegan.
Crop breeders have used conventional breeding to improve the concentrations of beta-carotene in maize (Gannon et al., 2014; Lividini and Fiedler, 2015), cassava, banana and plantain (Musa spp.) (Saltzman et al., 2013), and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) (Hotz et al., 2012a,b). There is some loss of beta-carotene during storage and cooking, but bioavailability is still good (Sanahuja et al., 2013; De Moura et al., 2015). The most rigorous assessments of the effects of those high-beta-carotene varieties were conducted with orange-fleshed sweet potato (high in beta-carotene) in farming areas of Mozambique and Uganda. In both countries, there was increased beta-carotene intake.
More rigorous data on time, location, and sociocultural trends in disease would enable better assessment of potential health problems caused by environmental factors and other products from new technologies. At a public meeting that the committee held on health effects of GE foods, a question was raised about whether current testing for allergenicity is insufficient because some people do not have acidic conditions in their stomachs. Regarding that issue, digestibility of the proteins is assessed with simulated gastric fluid (0.32 percent pepsin, pH 1.2, 37ºC), under the premise that an undigested protein may lead to the absorption of a novel allergenic fragment (Astwood et al., 1996; Herman et al., 2006). Stomach fluid is typically acidic, with a pH of 1.5-3.5, which is the range at which pepsin (the digestive enzyme of the stomach) is active, and the volume of stomach fluid is 20-200 mL (about 1-3 ounces).