GM Free Cymru

Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans

Date Added to website 9th Jan 2014

Full Paper Here:

Authors: T. Bøhn, M. Cuhra, T. Traavik, M. Sanden, J. Fagan, R. Primicerio


• Glyphosate tolerant GM soybeans contain high residues of glyphosate and AMPA.
• Soybeans from different agricultural practices differ in nutritional quality.
• Organic soybeans showed a more healthy nutritional profile than other soybeans.
• Organic soy contained more sugars, protein and zinc, but less fibre and omega-6.
• This study rejects that GM soy is "substantially equivalent" to non-GM soybeans.


This article describes the nutrient and elemental composition, including residues of herbicides and pesticides, of 31 soybean batches from Iowa, USA. The soy samples were grouped into three different categories: i) genetically modified, glyphosate-tolerant soy (GM-soy); ii) unmodified soy cultivated using a conventional "chemical" cultivation regime; and iii) unmodified soy cultivated using an organic cultivation regime. Organic soybeans showed the healthiest nutritional profile with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, significantly more total protein, zinc and less fibre than both conventional and GM-soy. Organic soybeans also contained less total saturated fat and total omega-6 fatty acids than both conventional and GM-soy. GM-soy contained high residues of glyphosate and AMPA (mean 3.3 and 5.7 mg/kg, respectively). Conventional and organic soybean batches contained none of these agrochemicals. Using 35 different nutritional and elemental variables to characterise each soy sample, we were able to discriminate GM, conventional and organic soybeans without exception, demonstrating "substantial non-equivalence" in compositional characteristics for 'ready-to-market' soybeans.

Note: This is a very important paper which gets rid of the myth -- once and for all -- that glyphosate /Roundup simply sits on the surface of plants and gets washed away in the rain. There is no doubt that glyphosate is absorbed into the plant and that it is easily traceable in the plant following harvest. It also accumulates over time. The authors argue -- very convincingly -- that GM Soy treated with Roundup is SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT from conventional or organically produced soy. Thus the use of the term "substantially equivalent" is misleading and scientifically nonsensical -- and should be abandoned forthwith. Furthermore, the organic soy is shown in these tests to be more nutritional than the GM soy, according to a number of different measures. On these grounds as well, the idea of substantial equivalence has to be abandoned.