Donegan, K.K., and Ramon J. Seidler. 1999. Effects of transgenic plants on soil and plant microorganisms. In S.G. Pandalai, editor, Recent Research Developments in Microbiology Vol. 3 pp 415-424. Research Signpost, Trivandrum, India.
In this paper, we summarize several microcosm and field studies we have performed using different transgenic plants to evaluate the persistence of their products and their effects on soil and plant microorganisms. These studies used cotton, potato, tobacco, and alfalfa plants that were engineered for the production of pesticidal products (Bacillus thuringiensis) endotoxins and proteinase inhibitors) and industrial compounds (alpha-amylase and lignin peroxidase) . We discuss our studies in relation to the findings of other researchers who have considered the effects of transgenic plants on soil and plant microorganisms. The different methods we have applied for studying the persistence of the transgenic plant products (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay, polymerase chain reaction) and for determining the effects on microorganisms (DNA fingerprinting, biolog pure culture and community analysis, substrate-induced respiration assay, enzymatic assays, and culturing on selective media) are also evaluated. Finally, we make recommendations for the design and execution of risk assessment studies of transgenic plants.