China Approves First GM 'Phytase' Corn

CHINA - The authorities have given approval to the world's first genetically modified (GM) phytase maize to Origin Agritech.
calendar icon 30 November 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Origin Agritech Limited, a biotech company based in Beijing, has received the Biosafety Certificate from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture as a final approval for commercial approval of the world's first genetically modified phytase corn.

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) reports that the transgenic corn is the product of a seven-year study by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Phytase is used as an additive in animal feed to degrade phytic acid, the storage form of phosphorus in plant feed ingredients. Phytase can increase phosphorus absorption in animals by as much as 60 per cent. With the transgenic crop, there is no need to purchase phytase and corn separately. The use of phytase corn should also reduce phosphate pollution caused by animal waste and excessive fertiliser use, according to the report.

Phytase, as an additive for animal feed, is mandatory in Europe, South-east Asia, South Korea, Japan and other regions for environmental purposes.

Gengchen Han, Origin's Chairman, said: "With this landmark seed approval, we are not only own the first GM corn seed product in China, but we are actively leading the new genetically modified generation of agricultural products for China, and will continue to do so for the future."

Genetically modified seed products in China must undergo five separate stages of approval beginning with a phase one laboratory approval to the final receipt of the Biosafety Certificate in phase five.

Currently, this GM seed approval process is restricted only to domestic seed producers such as Origin Agritech, according to ISAAA.

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