An international group of scientists from Europe and Asia investigated
the environmental risks ofgebetically modifiedpotatoes, particularly its
effects on soil microorganisms and associated ecosystem services. The
results found no tangible impact on soil microbial communities.
Using a cisgenic modified potato Desiree variety that is resistant to
the late blight-causing fungus/Phytophtora infestans/, the scientists
analyzed its impact on abundance and diversity of rhizosphere inhabiting
microbial communities. Two separate field trials set up were selected in
Ireland and the Netherlands. For two years, the cisgenic Desiree was
subjected to comparison against its non-engineered late blight-sensitive
counterpart and a conventional bred late blight-resistant variety for
the presence and absence of fungicides.
The researchers noted that the bacterial and fungal communities
responded to field conditions, potato varieties, year of cultivation,
and bacteria sporadically to fungicide treatments. Overall, their study
showed environmental variation but also similar patterns of soil
microbial diversity in potato rhizospheres. According to the
researchers, this indicated that the cisgenic modification had no
tangible impact on soil microbial communities.