Comparison of the Quality of Genetically modified Canola Varieties with Other Canola Varieties Grown in Western Canada in 1996/97

James Kenneth Daun
Canadian Grain Commission
Grain Research Laboratory
1404-303 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 3G8
Canada

Abstract

Varieties of canola which had been genetically enhanced using DNA technology to incorporate herbicide tolerance were compared to regular varieties of the same (B. napus) species.† Samples from the 1996 and 1997 harvest survey of canola conducted by the Canadian Grain Commission were tested for oil content, protein content, glucosinolate content, chlorophyll content and fatty acid composition.† The genetically modified varieties were equal or better in quality than the other varieties of the same species for all characteristics studied.

Keywords: oil, variety, herbicide, protein, glucosinolate, FAME

1. Introduction

With the exception of a very limited amount of the high-lauric acid varieties developed by Calgene, GMO (Genetically modified organism) canola lines grown in Canada up to 1998 included varieties which have been developed to be resistant to the use of specific herbicides. The herbicide tolerant trait allowed farmers to produce high yields of quality seed which is free from admixture of weeds such as wild mustard or cleavers. A significant reduction in the amount of herbicide applied results in savings to the farmer and lower herbicide residues left on seed or fields.

The first GMO canola, B. napus cv. Innovator was registered and first produced in 1995.† As regulatory approval was not in place in Japan, however, all 1995 production of Innovator was grown and processed in a closed loop system which resulted in all the seed and products being consumed within Canada or the USA.† Between 1995 and 1997, 10 herbicide tolerant GMO canola varieties were registered in Canada (Table 1).† In 1997, approximately 25% of Western Canadian canola production was GMO type.

During variety development and evaluation, GMO canola lines were evaluated in separate tests from regular canola lines.† While the same check samples were used for evaluation purposes, a bonus merit score was applied in order to facilitate their introduction to the system. (Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated 1995)† This has led to some suspicion that these varieties do not have the high quality traits found in conventional varieties.† The object of this report was to compare the quality of GMO varieties with the quality of conventional varieties for both the 1996 and 1997 harvests.

2. Materials Methods

Samples of canola grown in 1996 and 1997 were submitted to the Grain† Research Laboratory by producers from across Western Canada.† Producers provided identification of the location and variety grown on the submitted samples.† The samples were cleaned to remove dockage prior to analysis.† Oil, protein, chlorophyll and total glucosinolate measurements were made on all individual samples using an NIRS 6500 scanning near infra-red (NIR) spectrometer.† The NIR instrument was calibrated to and verified against the appropriate reference methods as described in (DeClercq and others 1997). Statistical analyses were carried out using the SAS System for Windows Release 6.12 TS020 using guided data analysis under the SAS/Assist program.†

3. Results and Discussion

The samples used in this study were a subset of the samples used for determining the harvest survey results reported in crop bulletins (DeClercq and others 1997; DeClercq and others 1996).† For this study, only samples with for which the variety name had been included in the identification data were selected.† Since the genetically enhanced canola varieties were all of the B. napus species, comparisons were restricted to samples of this species.† This selection resulted in 731 samples from the 1996 harvest survey of which 63 were genetically enhanced types and 1098 samples from the 1997 harvest survey of which 215 were genetically enhanced types (Table 2).†

In the cooperative and private trials used to develop the data used for evaluating lines for possible registration, candidate lines and check samples are grown in close proximity enabling comparison of agronomic and quality data under similar growing conditions (Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated 1997).† The check samples used for comparison were set when the candidate line entered the testing system based on current commercially successful lines† While side-by-side comparisons were not possible for samples obtained from a random selection from the commercially grown crop, it was possible to make comparisons between groups samples grown over the same general area in Western Canada.†

A plot of points of origin for the samples in the study showed that, except for the two varieties PGS 3850 and PGS 3880, the genetically enhanced lines were grown across Western Canada in a pattern and density similar to the overall distribution of B. napus. Comparisons were made between combined results for samples from non-GMO B. napus cultivars across all of Western Canada and the samples from the GMO cultivars Innovator, Quest and Independence. The PGS varieties were grown only in the Eastern prairies, predominantly in Manitoba.† Because of the relatively small sample size, especially for the variety PGS 3880, data for the two PGS lines were pooled.† Comparisons for the PGS varieties were made with B. napus cultivars grown in Manitoba.

In general, the GMO varieties had equal to higher oil contents and equal to lower protein contents than the non-GMO types (Table 3).† This inverse relationship between oil and protein content in canola is well known(Daun and DeClercq ) and is also consistent with the registration information (Table 1) in which all the lines in this study showed superior oil content to the check lines and Innovator and Quest showed decreases in protein content.† Because of the strong relationship between oil and protein, the emphasis on breeding for protein content has been reduced slightly in recent years in order to obtain a maximum yield of oil, the higher value product.(Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated 1998).

The chlorophyll content of the GMO varieties, except for the variety Independence, was equal to or lower than the chlorophyll content of the non-GMO varieties(Table 3).† The variety Independence had significantly more chlorophyll than Innovator or Quest as well as the non-GMO lines.† This is despite registration information which suggested that the chlorophyll content for this variety was lower than the check varieties Legend and Profit but higher than Delta(Canola Council of Canada 98).† Partly because of uncertainty in the usefulness of plot data for this parameter, there has been no specific requirements for chlorophyll content in registration data for canola in Canada.† Data on chlorophyll content may be collected, however, and used for additional information in obtaining support for registration.

The glucosinolate contents of Innovator, Quest and Independence were significantly (about 3 mM/g) lower than the mean glucosinolate content of non-GMO lines in both years of the study (Table 3). The glucosinolate content of the PGS lines, on the other hand, was about 1mM/g higher than the mean of the non-GMO lines.† Maximum glucosinolate levels in all non-GMO samples were equal to or less than 20 mM/g, the maximum level allowed in the EEC and approximately equal to the maximum allowable in canola.† The maximum allowable limits on glucosinolates for registration support is 12 mM/g.† This level was chosen to ensure that new varieties continue to be well within canola levels for glucosinolates.

The fatty acid composition of the GMO varieties was not significantly different from the fatty acid composition of non-GMO varieties (Table 4).† The slightly higher level of linolenic acid in the PGS varieties was probably due to the effect of location as these varieties were only grown in the Eastern prairies† All varieties showed very low levels of erucic acid which are typical for new canola lines in the B. napus species.

In summary, there is no reason to suggest that the quality of the GMO varieties of canola grown in Western Canada in 1996 and 1997 was not equal to the quality of non-GMO varieties grown in the same years.

References

Canola Council of Canada. Registered Herbicide Tolerant Varieties [Web Page]. Located at: http://www/canola-council.org/manual/hcideres.htm. Accessed 1998 Mar 11.

Daun JK, and DeClercq, D.R. Interrelationships Between Quality Factors and Yield in Canadian Canola from Harvest Surveys 1956 to 1994. Rapeseed Today and Tomorrow Proceedings of the 9th International Rapeseed Congress; 1995; Cambridge, UK. Cambridge, UK: p 336-8.

DeClercq DR, Daun JK, and Tipples KH. 1996. Quality of western Canadian Canola 1996. Winnipeg: Canadian Grain Commission.

DeClercq DR, Daun JK, and Tipples KH. 1997. Quality of western Canadian Canola 1997. Winnipeg: Canadian Grain Commission.

Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated1995.† Saskatoon, SK.

Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated1997.† Saskatoon, SK.

Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee Incorporated1998.† Saskatoon, SK.


Table 1.† Genetically enhanced herbicide tolerant varieties registered in Canada, 1995 to 1997.

Variety

Year Registered

Type

% Yield Difference1

% Oil Difference1

% Protein Difference1

Innovator

1995

Liberty Link

-4.3

+1.0

-1.3

PGS 3850

1996

Liberty Link

+12.3

+1

Equal

PGS 3880

1996

Liberty Link

+10.5

+1.5

Equal

Independence

1996

Liberty Link

Equal

+0.8

+0.2

LG 3295

1996

Roundup- Ready

+6.2

+0.4

-0.8

Quest

1996

Roundup- Ready

+2.7

+1.1

-2.1

2153

1997

Liberty Link

+19.8

+1.5

-1.2

45A48

1997

Roundup- Ready

-5

+0.8

-0.7

HCN14

1997

Liberty Link

+6.6

+0.4

+0.3

Phoenix

1997

Liberty Link

+2.5

+0.7

+0.6

1.† Compared to check varieties as follows:

1995 - compared to B. napus cv. Legend;

1996 - compared to mean of B. napus cv.ís Excel, Delta and Legend

1997 - compared to mean of B. napus cv.ís Excel, Cyclone and Legend

Table† 2.† B. napus† Varieties represented in Canadian Grain Commission Harvest Surveys, 1996 and 1997.† Genetically enhanced herbicide tolerant varieties shown in bold italics.

Variety

Samples

Variety

Samples

Variety

Samples

 

1996

1997

 

1996

1997

 

1996

1997

QUANTUM

242

251

ALLONS

5

4

SETTLER

1

 

HYOLA 401

61

64

CORONET

5

9

SEVILLE

1

1

AC EXCEL

53

49

CRUSHER

5

8

SPRINT

1

10

INNOVATOR

48

160

DEFENDER

5

3

VENUS

1

 

45A71

36

95

NORSEMAN

5

2

44A89

 

1

GARRISON

36

27

TROJAN

5

2

45A58

 

1

EBONY

32

41

MAGNUM

4

11

46A72

 

8

LEGACY

24

16

FRONTIER

3

1

BEACON

 

8

46A05

15

6

MERCURY

3

6

CASTOR

 

4

QUEST

15

55

VANGUARD

3

1

CLAVET

 

3

DELTA

13

9

AC H102

2

6

HUDSON

 

20

BULLET

12

9

BRIGADE

2

2

IMC 02

 

1

LEGEND

11

1

NEPTUNE

2

2

IMC 03

 

2

LG 3310

11

5

PRINCETON

2

1

IMPULSE

 

6

BOUNTY

10

2

STALLION

2

1

INDEPENDENCE

 

42

CYCLONE

8

2

WESTAR

2

2

LG 3220

 

1

JEWEL

8

12

APOLLO

1

 

LG 3369

 

3

GLOBAL

7

7

CELEBRA

1

 

OAC DYNAMITE

 

2

IMPACT

7

7

EAGLE

1

4

OPTIMUM 500

 

1

PEARL

6

2

HYOLA 417

1

 

PGS 3850

 

29

46A65

5

60

LG 3260

1

1

PGS 3880

 

6

AC ELECT

5

1

LG 3295

1

 

TRAILBLAZER

 

2

 

 

 

PROFIT

1

 

 

 

 


Table 3.† Summary of comparisons between GMO and non-GMO varieties of B. napus for samples from 1996 and 1997 harvest surveys.

 

Table 4† Fatty acid composition of Genetically Enhanced Varieties Compared to Fatty Acid Composition of All B. napus varieties1.

Variety

Fatty Acid (%)

 

C16:0

C16:1

C18:0

C18:1

C18:2

C18:3

C20:0

C20:1

C22:0

C22:1

C24:0

C24:1

B. napus

4.0

0.3

2.1

62.4

18.6

9.2

0.7

1.4

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.2

Innovator

4.1

0.3

2.0

62.3

19.3

9.2

0.7

1.2

0.3

0.0

0.2

0.2

PGS Varieties

4.0

0.3

2.0

61.1

19.7

10.0

0.7

1.3

0.4

0.0

0.2

0.2

Quest

3.9

0.3

2.2

63.4

17.8

9.1

0.8

1.4

0.4

0.1

0.2

0.2

Independence

4.1

0.3

2.1

63.6

18.7

8.1

0.7

1.2

0.3

0.1

0.2

0.2

1 Based on analysis of composite samples from 1996 and 1997 Harvest Surveys