2 June 2000

Table of Contents

BIOWATCH: GM Seeds Fiasco. The Dig-up Begins
Keep SA Soy GE-Free - Conference June 21/22 2000
BIOWATCH: Stop WTO Round - Mbeki Attempts To Secure A United Bloc against G7
Tony Rushes in Where Bill Fears to Tread
Rats! this is Fishy: Xenotransplantation: Fish–to– Rat
Agrobacterium Gene Transfer to Plants
Ecological Impact of Transgenics
Robert Cohen: Secret rBGH Study
Cargill, Hayashibara to Introduce Trehalose Sweetener to the Americas
Vitamin A in Tomato
Avadin in Corn Kills Storage Insects
Metallothionein Gene From Mouse In Soil Bacteria
International Food Policy Research Institute: New Listserver
Mohammed Al-Fayed anger in GM seed row
EU, US launch biotechnology forum on GM foods
good websites on GE

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Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 14:32:47 +0200
From: "taynton"
From: (FOE Internet System)

Friends Of The Earth - Press Release
For Immediate Release : Tuesday 23rd May 2000

BIOWATCH: GM Seeds Fiasco. The Dig-up Begins

A farmer affected by the Advanta Seeds GM contamination incident has decided to dig up his crop. Friends of the Earth has learned that the farm is located near Beccles in North Suffolk.

The affected crop was a spring oilseed rape variety (Hyola 38) which was contaminated with up to 1% of GM seed. Major British supermarkets have said that they will refuse to buy the crops from farmers who planted the contaminated seed, leaving them facing considerable financial loss. It is believed that Advanta have instructed farmers not to dig up the crop in the UK. The British Government has done nothing to prevent the affected crop from being grown, although in Sweden the Government is moving to ensure that it is removed from the ground as soon as possible.

Farmers who remove the contaminated crop from the ground and resow oilseed rape before the end of May would still be eligible for EU subsidy (Arable Area Payments).

Commenting, FOE Real Food Campaigner Pete Riley said:

"This is a brave action by an individual farmer facing company pressure and Government indifference. But it is a disgrace that farmers have been put in this position. The Government has a duty to see that all the contaminated crops are removed from the ground at once, and that farmers are properly compensated for any losses they suffer.

We have repeatedly warned the Government that the issue of liability for damage caused by GM crops is completely unresolved. Incidents like this are bound to happen again if the headlong rush to commercial development of GM crops continues."
Friends of the EarthE-mail:
26-28 Underwood StreetURL:
LondonTel: 0171 490 1555
N1 7JQFax: 0171 490 0881

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Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 08:21:59 +0200
From: Glenda Lindsay

Keep SA Soy GE-Free - Conference June 21/22 2000

Dear Defenders of GE-Free Foods

Agrimark, the American Soybean Assn (are your antenae twitching yet?) United Soybean Board & Southern African Soyfood Assn are holding the second

at Sanlam Auditorium,
Tindall St, Hatfield
WED June 21 & THUR June 22

For program details/info/registration, REGISTER BY JUNE 14 contact Minda Borman & Francis Jurgens (012) 335 1076

Exhibition Space Is Available
I'm away until the day before (am not emailable after today until June 20) - and may not be able to get there, but its important industry gets consumer input on what we want..... And do we WANT GE-contaminated soy?
Please be there.....either as delegates taking part in discussion sessions or handing out info on consumer concerns.

It your life. Its our world.
Everything you say and do makes a difference !

Yours for a GE-Free South Africa

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Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 22:00:25 +0200
From: "Rachel Wynberg"


BIOWATCH: Stop WTO Round - Mbeki Attempts To Secure A United Bloc against G7

By William Dhlamini

JOHANNESBURG May 12 (IPS) - South African President Thabo Mbeki is attempting to secure a united bloc of developing nations as a counterweight to the G7 of most industrialised countries to push for the interests of developing countries, ahead of the next round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade negotiations.

This is a key pillar of Mbeki's new trade policy. South Africa's Trade and Industry Minister, Alec Erwin, and Foreign Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are driving this policy objective.

"This group is envisaged to form the nucleus of countries in the South that can interact on behalf of developing countries," says Dlamini-Zuma. "It is a serious priority for South Africa," she adds.

This bloc, it is hoped, will constitute the major emerging economies: China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. SA's Erwin is a playing a key role in trying to get the next round of global trade talks on track which stalled after they came to an abrupt end at Seattle.

The argument in SA is that developing nations should now use their muscle within the world trading system to kick-start global trade talks.

The latent collective power of developing nations was shown when, frustrated in Seattle after being locked out of important sessions, they pulled the plug on the US and the European Union, just as the two were inching towards an agreement that would have excluded developing countries.

Developing countries have complained for years that rich countries are hijacking the WTO for their own ends: to force through free trade in high-technology goods and services while refusing to open doors to poorer countries with regards to farm and textile exports.

Anger among developing countries at the lack of consultation by developed nations reached a pitch at the WTO meeting in Seattle.

The trade talks were abandoned after fierce demonstrations by opposition groups against the dominant role of developed countries, particularly the US, in the proceedings.

Resentment in SA has further been fuelled by a decision by some European Union member states to renege on the terms of a free trade pact agreed with SA last year.

In a forthcoming SA Trade and Industry department position paper on the WTO , SA argues that the developing world should proceed with global talks only when it is confident of big gains in access to Western markets.

Mbeki is trying to make trade, economics and human rights the pillars of SA foreign policy, which he bases on the concept that SA is a leading developing nation, its identity firmly linked to the countries of the South.

Already, SA, Brazil, India, Nigeria and Egypt officially gave their signatures to the idea of a developing nation trading bloc. Brazilian foreign minister Luiz Lampeira on a visit to SA recently said:

"The larger developing countries did not have sufficient clout as a group because they were not sufficiently organised."

SA signed a Pretoria declaration with China, when the Chinese leader Jiang Zemin visited SA recently, which calls for international multilateral organisations such as the WTO, International Monetary Fund and World Bank to reform to take the needs of developing countries into account.

SA secured China, which is poised to enter the WTO after 14 years of trying, to the developing nation cause at the WTO.

SA secured a coup when developing nations Group 77 body adopted a resolution at the presidential summit in Havana, Cuba, last month calling for the group to speak, for the first time, in one voice at the WTO.

To give form to the resolution, the heads of State and senior ministers from the G77 countries agreed to create a new political directorate in the bloc to give practical effect to its decisions.

The directorate, whose powers are still being defined, includes Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malaysian President Mahathir Mohamad.

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Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 16:55:39 +0200
From: "ekogaia"

Greetings all;

So you all thought that the WTO or the World Bank were the villians of the third world; read on to find out who is really running the show. You could have guessed.

All the best

Glenn Ashton.

Tony Rushes in Where Bill Fears to Tread

By Gregory Palast, The Observer (UK) Sunday May 21, 2000

Clinton has 'wimped out' but the corporate big hitters are pleased with Blair 'the believer'

For all you conspiracy cranks and paranoid anti-globalisers who imagine that the planet's corporate elite and government functionaries actually meet to conspire about their blueprint for rewriting the laws of sovereign nations... be advised that the next meeting of the New World Order will be held next Tuesday at the Swiss Hotel in Brussels, at 9am.

This is the mid-year meeting of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue - and you aren't invited.

In 1997, just after Labour's general election victory, US Commerce Secretary Bill Daley met privately with the new Trade and Industry Secretary, Margaret Beckett, to instruct her on the ways of the world.

According to the US Secretary's own briefing notes - obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act - Daley dictated a list of four changes in UK law and policy required to smooth the path of American corporations in Britain. In addition, further guidance would be provided by what Daley described as 'the most influential business group advising government on US-EU commercial relations', the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD). 'Your encouragement,' he admonished the Minister, 'would be helpful.'

As Butch said to Sundance, Who are these guys? TABD is a working group of the West's 100 most powerful chief executives. When presidents, prime ministers and other transitory heads of state meet at the World Trade Organisation, this more permanent grouping provides their agenda.

The TABD's system is masterfully efficient. One US bigwig is paired with one European for each sector grouping. For example, Monsanto's Robert Harness and Unilever's Huib Vigeveno are in charge of Agri- Biotech.

The US government and the EU each assign an official to each industry pair. TABD has privileged access not to small fry, but to top bananas such as Pascal Lamy, European Commissioner for Trade, and Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society.

Next week, the officials will report to their corporate duos on the headway they have made on the 33 items on the current TABD implementation table. This lists 33 environment, consumer and worker protection laws in selected nations which TABD wishes to defeat or water down.

The corporates will render their verdict on what TABD calls the scorecard. This will then be turned over, along with a new implementation table - including agenda items for the WTO - to Presidents Clinton and Prodi at their summit meeting in Portugal later this month.

The 1988 implementation table, one of the first documents obtained, grudgingly, from the EC under its access to information rules, makes good reading for those wanting to know what's planned for our brave new world.

For example, several of the 'tetra-partite groups' (the two-on-two government-business trysting sessions) seek expansion for something called the MRA. The initials stand for Mutual Recognition Agreement, or what the TABD describes as, 'approved once, accepted everywhere'. It is the globalisers' cruise missile.

Here's an example of how it works. Years ago the Pfizer company manufactured defective heart valves which cracked, killing 165 patients in whom they had been implanted. Understandably, this made Europe wary of accepting devices merely because they had been blessed by the US Food and Drug Administration. But the MRA brushes aside individual nations' health and safety regulatory reviews - including individual regulation of medical device manufacturing plants.

Given the ill-feeling in Europe about genetic modification, the MRA rules for GM products are devilishly complex and savvy, effectively applying only to the developing nations. Does Brazil have a problem with Monsanto's Bovine Growth hormone? Sorry, approval by the WTO's Codex Alimentarius committee means Brazil must accept the product or face WTO trade sanctions.

The US, too, is a target of TABD's contempt for consumer protection. TABD's products liability group, under the guise of eliminating 'non-tariff' trade barriers, takes aim at the unique right of American citizens to sue corporate bad guys. One TABD proposal would reverse the $5 billion judgment against Exxon in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case. Recently, however, the TABD lobby locomotive has been slowed by lambs on the tracks.

The demonstrations in Seattle and Washington had, according to TABD members I interviewed, an effect far beyond anything the demonstrators themselves could have imagined. The first purpose of the WTO meeting was to launch a new round of cuts in import duties and a push to eliminate more of the rules covering imports, known as non-tariff regulatory barriers. That went up in tear-gas smoke. Sweating under the TV lights, the WTO shrank from voting a new 'comprehensive round'.

Worse, TABD's deregulation programme was publicly rejected by an erstwhile ally. The implementation table clearly told government officials, on page 17, that 'the basic purpose of an MAI [Multilateral Agreement on Investments] should not be undermined by language on labour policy and environmental policy', dicta adopted by the US and EC.

Yet there was Bill Clinton, spooked by opinion polls showing public support for the demonstrators' views, telling the Seattle audience weepy- eyed stories of the horrors of child labour in Brazil.

Business leaders were infuriated. Frustration with their former champion Clinton burst into the open two weeks ago when, at a meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce in Budapest, industrialists shouted down a proposal to 'dialogue' with non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International.

'I don't believe that those who were in Seattle represented somebody with a legitimate stake,' fumed Peter Sutherland, head of investment bank Goldman Sachs UK. Sutherland, who jumped to Goldman from his post as director of the WTO, prefers the company of his own kind. 'We have to be very careful on engaging in this debate, as those NGOs [non- governmental organisations] should not have a say with government!' (Interestingly, the Goldman bank chaired the TABD when Sutherland was running the WTO.)

Clinton had wimped out on business. But, just in time, the Chambers of Commerce have found a new knight errant.

'Tony Blair, he was great! He had guts! That's the leadership we need,' economist Jagdish Bhagwati, globalisation guru, told the disheartened suits in Budapest. He applauded the PM for speaking out, 'against anti-capitalist NGOs'.

When I spoke with Bhagwati this week, he contrasted Clinton's 'absurd, ignorant' pleas for Brazil's child labourers with the attitude of Clare Short. Bhagwati, who sat next to the International Development Secretary at the WTO in Seattle, described with giggly approval how she kept him in stitches, mocking a speaker from the African National Congress while the ANC man spoke of the connection between globalisation and child labour. 'No one in the Clinton administration would have done that.' No, they would not.

Businessmen lobbying their way into government offices is an old story, but the supercharged TABD version - infiltration by invitation - began only in 1995 as the brainchild of Ron Brown, Clinton's first Commerce Secretary.

Brown, who died in a 1996 air crash, was Clinton's Mandelson, architect of the scheme to turn Democrats into New Democrats, the party of business. When Brown died, Clinton's passion for pairing with business passed away too, not uninfluenced by the demolition of the New Democrats in the 1994 Congressional elections.

Clinton lopped off the 'New' label - take note, Tony - when his good buddies in industry, sensing his weakness, rushed back to their natural home in the Republican Party.

Clinton still goes through the motions of meeting TABD, as required by commercial realpolitik, but its leaders, such as Jim Wootten of the US Chamber of Commerce, tell me they doubt the President's sincerity.

But Blair is different. 'Blair really believes,' says Bhagwati admiringly of Blair's globalising fervour. And TABD members agree. Unlike that scamp from Arkansas whose expressions of policy are as inconstant as his expressions of fidelity, Blair is a man of convictions. His heart leaps at visions of a flexible labour force, of entrepreneurs liberated from bureaucrats' rule-books, of a new economy relieved of the antique task of bending metal into Rovers.

In 1997, according to US documents, Blair personally stepped over Margaret Beckett to water down regulations permitting Americans to build gas-fired power plants in the UK. He also hopped about to accomplish the other three tasks on the US Commerce Secretary's favours list.

Don't dismiss this as just a series of tawdry fixes. The Prime Minister rolled out the golden doormat in Downing Street to American companies because he looks on these bold screw-the-rules operators as an entrepreneurial stud pool whom he hopes will breed with and revitalise the hoof-dragging local stock.

It's sad, really. Unlike Clinton, who wised up quickly, Blair confuses the TABD's self-serving wishlist with a programme of economic salvation.

He trusts his industry darlings will never leave his side. But as his re- election becomes ever more doubtful, he will find that, as they say in Arkansas, Tony's been kissed - but he ain't been loved.

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector,"

THE LANCET, April 2000

"When a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, it can cause a hurricane in New York."

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Date: 31 May 2000 08:00:11 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

Xenotransplantation 6 (3) 213-219 © Munksgaard

Rats! this is Fishy: Xenotransplantation: Fish-to- Rat

Heterotopic cardiac xenotransplantation: fish-to-rat

Weiming Yu,1 and James R. Wright Jr1,2 Yu W
Xenotransplantation 1999; 6: 213-219. ©Munksgaard, Copenhagen

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a vascularized organ transplanted from a teleost fish to a rodent would be hyperacutely rejected. Previous reports describing the results of discordant xenotransplantation are almost exclusively across orders within the class Mammalia. We chose a species combination that crosses many phylogenetic barriers (i.e. species, genus, family, order, and class) as well as several hundred million years on an evolutionary timescale. Because no published methodology existed, we developed a microvascular surgical method for fish (tilapia)-to-rat heterotopic cardiac xenotransplantation.

To minimize the blood pressure to which the graft would be exposed, the tilapia heart was placed on the venous side of the rat circulation between the left kidney and the inferior vena cava by end-to-side anastomoses of the donor aorta to the recipient inferior vena cava and by end-to-end anastomosis of the donor sinus venosus to the recipient left renal vein. Tilapia hearts were rejected hyperacutely, based on both routine histopathological examination and immunofluorescent staining for immunoglobulin and complement, but rejection required hours rather than minutes.

Received 10 March 1999;accepted 22 April 1999

Affiliations Departments of 1Pathology and 2Surgery, Izaak Walton Killam-Grace Health Centre, Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 3G9

Address reprint requests to James R. Wright Jr, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, IWK-Grace Health Center, 5850 University Ave, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 3G9.

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Date: 31 May 2000 08:57:14 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

The 18th Bateson Memorial Lecture

Agrobacterium Gene Transfer to Plants

Molecular Plant Pathology 1 (1) 87-90 © British Society for Plant Pathology

DNA and protein transfer from bacteria to eukaryotes– the agrobacterium story

EugenE. W. Nester

Agrobacterium is a well-studied plant pathogen, which has the unique ability to transfer DNA and protein into a number of eukaryotes. The DNA is integrated randomly into the plant genome where it is expressed, thereby leading to the disease crown gall. This system is a paradigm for the interaction of a number of plant and animal pathogens which transfer proteins into their host cells.

In Agrobacterium, the tumour inducing (Ti) plasmid codes for the functions specifically required for the transfer process. These genes, termed virulence or vir genes, are activated by plant signal molecules acting through a two component regulatory system. A key structure coded by 11 genes of the vir B operon is a pilus, synthesized at 20 °C, but poorly at 25 °C. How this pilus functions in DNA and protein transfer is unclear, but homologous genes are found in many animal pathogens. In addition to Ti plasmid-encoded vir genes, chromosomal virulence genes have also been identified.

However, these mutations are often pleiotropic because they involve both the normal physiology of Agrobacterium as well as the metabolism of Agrobacterium when it is associated with plant cells. Based on 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, Agrobacterium is closely related to the intracellular pathogen of animals, Brucella. Several chromosomal mutations of Agrobacterium required for virulence in plants are also required for invasion of animal host cells by Brucella.

Affiliations Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

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Date: 31 May 2000 09:06:56 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

Ecosystem Health 6 (1) 13-23,2000 © Blackwell Science Inc.

Ecological Impact of Transgenics

The Ecological Impacts of Transgenic Crops on Agroecosystem Health

Miguel A. Altieri1

Transgenic crops are being deployed at increasing rates in agricultural landscapes worldwide. This leads to increasing genetic uniformity of agroecosystems and enhances farmers dependence on biotechnological innovations subject to proprietary regimes controlled by multinational corporations. As developed transgenic crops respond to market niches and opportunities, there has been little consideration of the ecological implications of their deployment. Existing ecological theory and emerging research data suggest that the massive planting of transgenic monocultures can create critical environmental impacts ranging from gene flow between transgenic crops and wild relatives, the creation of super-weeds and the rapid development of insect resistance, to impacts on soil fauna and nontarget organisms. The consequences of such effects on agroecosystem health are analyzed are herein.

Affiliations 1Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California

Address correspondence to: Miguel A. Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, ESPM-Division of Insect Biology, 201 Wellman-3112, Berkeley, CA 94720-3112; E-mail

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Date: 31 May 2000 09:23:09 +0100
From: "Ericka "
From: "David Rietz"

Robert Cohen: Secret rBGH Study

Subject: DEB News: The End
Monday, May 29 2000

Today is the 205th and FINAL day of my hunger strike.

I have accomplished all that I am capable of. I possess the secret study in which laboratory animals got cancer from Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

That study was authored by Richard, Odaglia, and Deslex, and if I release the study I will go to jail.

On October 11, 1996, the Economic Espionage Act was signed into law by President Clinton. That law was enacted in the middle of my federal lawsuit seeking the release of that study and sent a clear message to me.

If I reveal Monsanto's trade secret I will be committing treason and be subject to a $10 million dollar fine and 15 years incarceration in a federal prison. A few months after the law was signed, President Clinton delivered his State of the Union address and praised Monsanto as a company to lead America into the 21st century. I have offered this study to Marian Burros of the New York Times and will agree to take my chances if it is published on the front page.

Is going to jail worth revealing the horrors of what happened to lab animals? Is going to jail worth preventing a poison from entering the bodies of my children and yours? I would do so, only if my act became more than just a scream in the darkness. I will not "piss into the wind," for who would bear witness to my anguish? Just myself.

I have attempted to work within "the system," relying upon the ethics and morality of unbiased FDA reviewers. Unfortunately, there exists no such creature.

The only hope, then, is to bring the truth about genetically engineered foods to the American people. You have read my account, and I hope that you are now armed with the proper tools and wisdom and share this diary with people you love and care for.

Today I end my hunger strike, and will continue to spread the word of truth. The next time you hear a whistle blowing inside of a supermarket or outdoors, look for me. That will be my statement. One whistle. One thousand whistles. Millions of whistles.

Let us join together and become whistle blowers. Let us send a piercing cry to the hearts and psyches of those who betray. We can no longer permit ourselves to blindly place the health of our children in the hands of those with conflicts of interest. This healing must now be taken directly to the people.

Robert Cohen

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Date: 31 May 2000 11:38:54 +0100

Cargill, Hayashibara to Introduce Trehalose Sweetener to the Americas

CONTACT: Allan Holbert of Cargill, Inc., 612-742-6194
Web site:
May 31, 2000

MINNEAPOLIS, May 30 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation -

Cargill and Hayashibara Company Ltd. of Japan said today they had signed a letter of intent to evaluate the trehalose market in the Americas to determine the feasibility of Cargill establishing a manufacturing and marketing business for the multi-functional sweetener.

As part of this evaluation, Cargill has been granted an exclusive distributorship to market food grade trehalose throughout the Americas, effective immediately. Cargill will also offer a pharmaceutical grade.

Trehalose is a unique, naturally occurring sugar with many important functional characteristics. It is about 45 percent as sweet as sucrose. Trehalose has a potentially large market since it can be used as a component of sweeteners, seasonings, preserved and frozen foods and soft drinks, and as a moisture retainer in cosmetics and a preservative in pharmaceutical products.

"Numerous attempts have been made by others to produce trehalose at low cost, but none have been commercially viable," said Dr. Alan Richards, vice president of Hayashibara International. "Using Hayashibara's expertise in carbohydrate chemistry and enzyme technology, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories (HBL) has developed a unique process for high-yield, large-scale production of trehalose directly from starch at a fraction of the cost of existing methods."

"Cargill has studied the uses of trehalose in food for several years," said Bruce Leslie, leader of Cargill's specialty food business development group. "We are excited about developing the potential business opportunities associated with trehalose and growing our relationship with Hayashibara."

"Hayashibara selected Cargill because of its reputation for excellence, broad food ingredient market presence, and world class manufacturing skills," said Katsuaki Hayashibara, director of Overseas Business Development.

Both companies have performed extensive applications testing and are engaged in an ongoing joint research program for trehalose.

"If the two companies determine that the trehalose market and business conditions are suitable, Cargill will be granted exclusive rights to the Hayashibara technology in the Americas," Leslie said. "Cargill will then design and construct a large-scale trehalose production facility that will revolutionize the cost of the product."

Trehalose produced by the Hayashibara technology has been self-affirmed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a multiple-use direct additive for general use in foods. A GRAS Notification submission has been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is currently under review by the agency.

"Until recently, trehalose has been cost prohibitive to the food industry, and its uses have been limited to the stabilization of proteins and biological systems in pharmaceutical applications and in cosmetics," Leslie said. "With the new production technology and affirmation that it is GRAS, trehalose is now available at reasonable pricing to create new opportunities in the food industry."

HBL was founded in 1970 as a research division of Hayashibara Company Ltd. in Okayama, Japan. The parent company has more than a century-long history of innovations in the field of carbohydrate science. Hayashibara Company Ltd. was the first company in the world to commercialize the manufacture of glucose from starch using enzymatic hydrolysis.

Since that time, Hayashibara has continued to commercialize various starch-based saccharides that have applications in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The Hayashibara trehalose production technology was developed in 1994 by HBL and the Company has filed patents in numerous countries.

Cargill is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products and services with 82,000 employees in 59 countries. Trehalose demonstrates Cargill's commitment to specialty food ingredients as part of its ongoing dedication to deliver innovative customer solutions.

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Date: 31 May 2000 21:03:33 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

Vitamin A in Tomato

The paper below ignores the well established adverse impacts of vit A precursor such as those that smoke and drink alchohol: June 2000 Volume 18 Number 6 pp 666 - 669, Nature Biotechnology

Elevation of the provitamin A content of transgenic tomato plants

Susanne Römer1, 2, Paul D. Fraser1, Joy W. Kiano1, Cathie A. Shipton3, Norihiko Misawa4, Wolfgang Schuch3 & Peter M. Bramley1

  1. School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 OEX, UK
  2. Present address: Fakult=E4t fur Biologie, Universit=E4t Konstanz, D-78434, Konstanz, Germany
  3. Zeneca Plant Science, Jealott's Hill Research Station, Bracknell, Berks, RG42 6EY, UK
  4. Kirin Brewery, Central Laboratories for Key Technology, 1-13-5, Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama -shi 236, Japan Correspondence should be addressed to P M Bramley. e-mail:

Tomato products are the principal dietary sources of lycopene and major source of -carotene, both of which have been shown to benefit human health. To enhance the carotenoid content and profile of tomato fruit, we have produced transgenic lines containing a bacterial carotenoid gene (crtI) encoding the enzyme phytoene desaturase, which converts phytoene into lycopene.

Expression of this gene in transgenic tomatoes did not elevate total carotenoid levels. However, the -carotene content increased about threefold, up to 45% of the total carotenoid content. Endogenous carotenoid genes were concurrently upregulated, except for phytoene synthase, which was repressed. The alteration in carotenoid content of these plants did not affect growth and development. Levels of noncarotenoid isoprenoids were unchanged in the transformants. The phenotype has been found to be stable and reproducible over at least four generations.

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Date: 31 May 2000 21:08:05 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

The paper below deals with introduction of a gene into corn that kills insects by starving them of the B vitamin biotin. It seems a risky procedure for people who eat cornflakes?

Avadin in Corn Kills Storage Insects

Nature Biotechnology, June 2000 Volume 18 Number 6 pp 670 - 674

Transgenic avidin maize is resistant to storage insect pests

Karl J. Kramer1, Thomas D. Morgan1, James E. Throne1, Floyd E. Dowell1, Michele Bailey2 & John A. Howard2

  1. Grain Marketing Production Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Manhattan, KS 66502.
  2. ProdiGene Inc., 101 Gateway Boulevard, College Station, TX 77845. Correspondence should be addressed to K J Kramer. e-mail:

Avidin is a glycoprotein found in chicken egg white, that sequesters the vitamin biotin. Here we show that when present in maize at levels of 100 p.p.m., avidin is toxic to and prevents development of insects that damage grains during storage. Insect toxicity is caused by a biotin deficiency, as shown by prevention of toxicity with biotin supplementation. The avidin maize is not, however, toxic to mice when administered as the sole component of their diet for 21 days. These dates suggest that avidin expression in food or feed grain crops can be used as a biopesticide against a spectrum of stored-produce insect pests.

Keywords: genetic engineering, insect biology, stored grain, insect resistance, corn, host plant resistance, biotin, transgenic plants

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Date: 31 May 2000 22:54:04 +0100
From: "j.e. cummins"

Metallothionein Gene From Mouse In Soil Bacteria

The mammalian metallothionein gene ( from human or mouse) has been used in genetic engineering to create trees, crops or bacteria that bind metal pollution (cadmium or mercury) in soil. The metalothionein gene has been found to amplify in human cancers of the breast, prostate or testis. It seems a foolhardy practice to release genes implicated in human cancer in soil bacteria,trees or crop plants. However, brainless field tests have been undertaken in that area.

In the experiment below the gonorrhoeae gene was far less threatening than the gene amplified in human cancer but the gonorrhoeae gene could facilitate adhesion of the bacterium to human cells. The genetic engineers seem to like to play really rough these days.

Nature Biotechnology
June 2000 Volume 18 Number 6 pp 661 - 665

Engineering a mouse metallothionein on the cell surface of Ralstonia eutropha CH34 for immobilization of heavy metals in soil

Marc Valls1, 2, Silvia Atrian1, Victor de Lorenzo2 & Luis A. Fernandez2

  1. Departament de Gen=E8tica, Facultat de Biologia, Av. Diagonal 645, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028-Barcelona, Spain
  2. Departamento de Biotecnologia Microbiana, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia, Campus Cantoblanco, 28049-Madrid. Spain Correspondence should be addressed to V de Lorenzo. e-mail:

Here we describe targeting of the mouse metallothionein I (MT) protein to the cell surface of the heavy metal-tolerant Ralstonia eutropha (formerly Alcaligenes eutrophus) CH34 strain, which is adapted to thrive in soils highly polluted with metal ions.

DNA sequences encoding MT were fused to the autotransporter -domain of the IgA protease of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which targeted the hybrid protein toward the bacterial outer membrane. The translocation, surface display, and functionality of the chimeric MT protein was initially demonstrated in Escherichia coli before the transfer of its encoding gene (mtb) to R. eutropha. The resulting bacterial strain, named R. eutropha MTB, was found to have an enhanced ability for immobilizing Cd2+ ions from the external media. Furthermore, the inoculation of Cd2+-polluted soil with R. eutropha MTB decreased significantly the toxic effects of the heavy metal on the growth of tobacco plants (Nicotiana bentamiana).

Keywords: Alcaligenes, bioremediation, metallothionein, Ralstonia, surface display, heavy metals

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Date: 1 Jun 2000 02:06:10 +0100
From: wytze
From: WTO Agriculture Impact
From: Sophia Murphy

NB IF you cannot access the internet and wish to subscribe, please contact the address below for Mary Mastroianni. I will not be able to help. Thanks.


International Food Policy Research Institute: New Listserver

As you have many colleagues who are interested in food security, agricultural and food policy issues, I would like to inform you that the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) now has a new listserver.

To SUBSCRIBE to this list, go to:

You may wish to forward this announcement to colleagues in your organization interested in food policy issues. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Mary L. Mastroianni, Website Developer
International Food Policy Research Institute
2033 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006 USA

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Date: 1 Jun 2000 03:57:03 +0100
From: James Mackenzie

Mohammed Al-Fayed anger in GM seed row

Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK

GM seeds were sown at Mr al-Fayed's Scots estate Harrods owner Mohammed al-Fayed has offered to help pay a union's legal costs of any court action it takes over the genetically modified seeds blunder.

Mr al-Fayed's gesture came after it emerged that staff at his Balnagowan Estate in Easter Ross had sown 55 acres of the contaminated oilseed rape.

Warnings were issued to British farmers after it was revealed that seed supplied by the Canadian company Advanta had been tainted by GM material.

However, a spokesman for Mr al-Fayed said government advice about the contamination had come too late to prevent sowing going ahead.

The multi-millionaire businessman was said to be "outraged" at the situation.

He is now considering his legal position and is consulting with estate owners and farmers who have been affected.

The president of the Scottish National Farmers Union, Jim Walker, has confirmed that Mr al-Fayed is offering to help pay the union's legal costs for any court action for compensation over the entire GM seeds affair.

Mr Walker welcomed the approach, along with the businessman's pledges of support for other aspects of the union's campaign.

He has also offered to meet Scottish farmers' leaders to discuss how he can help further.

Mr Walker said: "Mr al-Fayed has offered any help in the future that we may require, including financial help, if we have to take a court case out against a third party for this whole debacle.

'Public profile'

"It's quite nice to know that somebody of his alleged wealth would be prepared to back us in any efforts that we have to get compensation for all our members.

"His farm in the north has a membership of our union and we would represent him the same as we would represent any other member of this organisation and it just so happens that he has something of a public profile and more cash than the normal cash-strapped farmer in Scotland at the moment."

Mr al-Fayed's spokesman revealed that the oilseed rape was still growing on the Balnagowan Estate but was expected to be ploughed in.

He said: "Mr al-Fayed feels that he and other farmers who have been affected are certainly entitled to compensation and that they should protest against this.

"He is certainly in touch with the Scottish Farmers' Union and members of the Scottish Parliament and is hoping that they will present a united front."

In the last two years it is believed that up to 600 British farmers may have planted more than 30,000 acres of oilseed rape supplied by Advanta.

The company said it thought the seed was contaminated with GM rape pollen from a neighbouring field in 1998.

The Scottish NFU has called on government ministers to pursue Advanta for compensation and pay full interim payments to farmers affected.

Last week, Westminster Agriculture Minister Nick Brown advised farmers to destroy the crops but the government said that losses incurred by farmers were a matter to be resolved between them and the seed suppliers.

His Scottish counterpart, Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie, reacted with anger when he discovered that officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had failed to tell him about the oilseed problem for over a month.

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Date: 1 Jun 2000 12:42:18 +0100

EU, US launch biotechnology forum on GM foods

By Patrick Blum, BridgeNews, June 1, 2000, Tel: +351 21 317 1113,

Lisbon – May 31 – EU and U.S. leaders on Wednesday agreed to launch a joint Biotechnology Consultative Forum to promote understanding about the use of new technologies and genetically modified food and agricultural products, according to an official statement released at the end of a one day EU-U.S. summit in Queluz, Portugal, on Wednesday.

* * *

"We are hopeful that this independent forum will provide a venue for thoughtful discussion among experts and will contribute toward fostering better understanding of the many important issues involved," the statement said.

The forum, which will comprise eminent independent experts, is expected to report at the next EU-U.S. summit in Washington next December.

The has been a series of disputes between the US and Europe over the use of genetically modified foods and crops, with several European government recently ordering the destruction of GM-contaminated crops. End

© Copyright 2000 Bridge Information Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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Date: 2 Jun 2000 00:37:16 +0100
From: Robert Mann

good websites on GE , a ghostly preprint, will introduce you to what I regard as the best site for studying GE. It is well worth arranging at that site to get Mindit to notify you automatically when anything new is added to that site.

The other good one, top quality tho' with far less on it, is .


Robt Mann, consultant ecologist, P O Box 28878 Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand, (9) 524 2949