BiosafeTrain

Capacity building for biosafety and ecological impact assessment of transgenic plants in East Africa

Charles Kayuki

MSc student at University of Dar-es-Salaam.

Charles Kayuki

MSc student at University of Dar-es-Salaam.

Aim of research

The title of my research is "Investigation on effect of Bt protein on anaerobic digestion of cotton seed cake in rumen derived reactor". The specific protein that will be used in this study is Cry 1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

The research aims to use the Cry 1Ac protein which is the protein expressed in Bt cotton (Genetically modified crop), I cannot use transgenic cotton because Tanzanian regulations do not allow cultivation of GM crops at the time.

Background

For years Tanzania has cultivated cotton except in the Southern Highlands due to the threat of the the red bollworm , where cotton growing has been banned since 1968. The authorization of growing Bt cotton in Tanzania could be of economic significance to farmers in these region.

Cotton seeds are source of vegetable oil for humans and a source of protein as animal feed. Thus the use of Bt cotton seed raises safety concerns both as human food and animal feed in Tanzania. This research will investigate if there is effect of Bt protein on the anaerobic digestion of cotton seed cake. I intend to use a rumen derived reactor as a simulation of anaerobic digestion in ruminants and this will be done by monitoring the production of biogas and volatile acid as anaerobic digestion proceed.

Objectives

The main objective of the study is to establish the effect of the Cry 1Ac protein on anaerobic digestion of cotton seed cake in rumen derived reactor. While there will be three specific objectives which are:

1. To investigate the effects of different Bt protein concentrations on biogas production from rumen derived anaerobic reactor fed with cotton seed cake.

2. To investigate the methanogenic activity of different ruminant inocula.

3. To investigate the effect of Bt protein on degradability of cotton plant parts residues.

The effects will be tested by comparing the reactors with Bt protein with those without Bt protein (control) and at the end it will be possible to say whether animal feed derived from genetically modified cotton expressing Cry 1Ac protein are good or not, based on scientific evidence.

By Joy Owango, June 2010.