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Organic Consumers Association

New Study Proves Bt Toxins in GMOs Toxic to Mammalian Blood

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Dr. Mezzomo and his team from the Department of Genetics and Morphology at the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia recently performed and published a study done involving testing Bacillus thuringensis toxin (Bt toxin) on swiss albino mice.  This toxin is the same one built into  Monsanto's GMO Bt crops such as corn and soy as a pesticide.  While Bt toxin has been used quite safely in conventional and organic farming as an occasional spray used when dealing with a pest problem, now it has been engineered to be produced by and present throughout the inside of every cell and intercellular space of the plants themselves, which is why they chose to undertake the study.  It should also be noted that as bacteria use lateral transference of genetic material, making it a possibility for this genetic material to become part of the human body's bacterial bouquet that we depend on for our health (our bodies contain more bacteria cells than human ones by number).

  " advances in genetic engineering promise the expression of multiple Cry toxins in Bt-plants, known as gene pyramiding. Therefore, studies on non-target species are requirements of international protocols to verify the adverse effects of these toxins, ensuring human and environmental biosafety.

 Due to its growing use in agricultural activities, Bt presence has  already been detected in different environmental compartments such as soil and water. Consequently, the bioavailability of Cry proteins has increased, and for biosafety reasons their adverse effects might be studied, mainly for non-target organisms. Studies are therefore needed to evaluate Bt toxicity to non-target organisms;  the persistence of Bt toxin and its stability in aquatic environments; and the risks to humans and animals exposed to potentially toxic levels of Bt through their diet.

 Thus, we aimed to evaluate, in Swiss albino mice, the hematotoxicity and genotoxicity of four Bt spore-crystals "


The scientists already knew that Bt toxin was very toxic and potentially deadly at levels above 270 milligrams per kilogram (basically ppm), so they instead tested levels ranging from 27mg/kg, 136mg/kg, and 270mg/kg for one to seven days (each of the Cry toxins were separated out and tested individually to maximize accuracy and total info).  It was quite clear right off the bat that these Cry toxins were quite hemotoxic even at the lowest level of 27mg/kg administered only one time and one day as they clearly had damaged the blood, particularly in reference to red blood cells.  The quantity and size of the erythrocytes (RBCs) were both significantly reduced, as was the overall levels of hemoglobin for which oxygen to attach to.  All major factors regarding RBCs demonstrated some level of damage present for all levels of toxin administered and across all Cry proteins, although there were some clear variances present between different proteins and levels for certain factors.  The white blood cell count was also quite noticeably raised, and as expected it dramatically increased depending on the duration the subject was tested for.    The tests clearly demonstrated that Cry proteins were cytotoxic to bone marrow cells, accounting for a portion of the measured effects. It should also be noted that a previous study found that these proteins caused hemolysis (they killed blood cells) in vitro, particularly seeming to target the cell membranes of red blood cells.


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