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No ill effects on soil fauna from GM fungus-resistant wheat

The first field study of the effects of genetically modified fungus-resistant wheat on decomposition rates and soil fauna has been completed by researchers from the Swiss University of Bern. The researchers compared decomposition rates and soil fauna populations for three conventional crops, barley, triticale and wheat, with four GM wheat lines. The GM wheats included two lines resistant to powdery mildew ( Blumeria graminis f sp tritici) and two expressing a chitinase or glucanase. Trials were conducted over a three-year period (2008–2010). Soil fauna taxa monitored included mites, springtails, annelids and Diptera. Beside soil fauna community and decomposition rate, carbon/nitrogen ratio and structural plant components (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) were also monitored.

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