Bt Brinjal is a transgenic brinjal created by inserting a gene [Cry 1Ac] from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis into Brinjal. The insertion of the gene into the Brinjal cell in young cotyledons has been done through an Agro bacterium-mediated vector, along with other genes like promoters, markers etc. This is said to give the Brinjal plant resistance against lepidopteron insects like the Brinjal Fruit and Shoot Borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and Fruit Borer (Helicoverpa armigera). It is reported that upon ingestion of the Bt toxin by the insect, there would be disruption of digestive processes, ultimately resulting in the death of the insect. Bt Brinjal is being developed in India by M/s Mahyco [Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company]. Now, the company wants to take up large scale field trials with the permission of the GEAC in 2006-07. The importance of this development can be understood from the fact that no GM Brinjal has been released for an advanced stage of field trials in open conditions anywhere in the world and that this is the first time that GEAC could be giving permission for large scale open trials for a food crop in.
- Bt brinjal produces a protein in the vegetable cells that induce antibiotic resistance. This is recognised as a major health problem and is inappropriate for commercialised use. It may also indicate that old GM technology is being used as the technology has already moved on from antibiotic resistance marker genes.
- Bt brinjal appears to have 15 percent less calories and different alkaloid content compared to non-GM brinjal. It contains 16-17 mg/kg Bt insecticide toxin. When fed to animals, effects were observed on blood chemistry with significant differences according to the sex of the animal or period of measurement. Other effects were on blood clotting time (prothrombin), total bilirubin (liver health), and alkaline phosphate in goats and rabbits.
- Changes in lactating cows were observed in increased weight gain, intake of more dry roughage matter and milk production up by 10-14 percent as if they were treated by a hormone.
- Rats fed Bt brinjal had diarrhoea, increased water consumption; decrease in liver weight, and liver to body weight.
- Feed intake was modified in broiler chickens.