What is BT Brinjal and why the controversy?

Bacillus Thuringiensis Brinjal, popularly known as Bt brinjal, is right now in the middle of an environmental and health controversy in India.

BT BrinjalBT Brinjal

Bacillus Thuringiensis Brinjal, popularly known as Bt brinjal, is right now in the middle of a environmental and health controversy in India. This is a genetically modified strain of the non-GM Brinjal created by India's top seeds company Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company) in collaboration with American multinational Monsanto and stakes a claim to improve the yields many fold and also help the agricultural sector.  claims to improve yields and help the agriculture sector. Researchers, environmentalists, scientists and Environmental Orgnaizations like Greenpeace have for the last year been trying to stop the manufacture of this “ninja brinjal.”

Following the mass farmer suicides over the failure of the  BT cotton crop many states have been against the use and production of this Brinjal. But the Centre was still adamant on going ahead with manufacture, as it would accelerate yield and will shorten growth time of the crop. Union Enviromnental Minister, Jairam Ramesh has finally relented and said, said there was 'no over-riding urgency to introduce Bt Brinjal in India'.

Milind Sonam at a Greenpeace event demonstrating against Genetically Modified(GM) FoodMilind Sonam at a Greenpeace event demonstrating against Genetically Modified(GM) Food

What People have to say?
Dr Harash Narang, microbiologist and senior research associate at the University of Leeds, who originally pointed to the possible link between mad cow disease (BSE) and CJD in humans, "If you look at the simple principle of genetic modification it spells ecological disaster. There are no ways of quantifying the risks...  The solution is simply to ban the use of genetic modification in food." 
"Nowhere in the world has a GM vegetable crop like Bt brinjal been allowed. It should be remembered that there is scientific evidence the world over that GM foods cause a variety of health problems including organ damage, impaired immune systems, adverse effects on growth and development and even negative impacts on the next generation. Why are we allowing ourselves to be made guinea pigs in this corporate, profit-driven genetic experiment" actress Amala Akkineni on GM foods

‘The emerging voice in new India clearly does not wish to have anything to do with this unnatural food,’ says Baba Ramdev in 'Poison on Platter' a film on GMOs by Mahesh Bhatt.

“This is a serious violation of people’s right to safe food as consumers are being kept ignorant of the presence of potentially dangerous GM ingredients in the food products. There is growing scientific evidence on the health hazards of GM foods across the world and it cannot be ignored any more. The mandate of keeping hazardous food out of the country should be the duty of the Health Ministry and it should take immediate steps to stop the illegal entry of these foods,” said Dr Mira Shiva, of the Initiative for Health, Equity and Society.

Health and Environmental impacts
  • It produces a protein in the vegetable cells that work to induce antibiotic resistance and obviously poses as a major health concern and it therefore is inappropriate for commercialised use. 
  • Bt brinjal also appears to have 15 percent less calories and different alkaloid content compared to non-GM brinjal and also contains an 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. This poses as a major environmental and biodiversity threat.
  • 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.
(Inputs from Greenpeace and
Tags: farmers, BT Brinjal, brinjal, GM genetic modification, baba ramdev, jairam ramesh, crop


ravneet sanauri Nov 19th, 2010 09:10 PM

does this thing have any positive effect...?
i neeed to complete my projectt...! :|

santosh madankar Jul 09th, 2010 02:24 AM

India is a orign place of Brinjol, so lot of varieties are available for brinjol in india.  we should have to search for the wild borer resistant varieties of Brinjol.  Beside this we are trying to implement the western tradition to increase yield of Brinjol. we can do the same by adopting different plant protection measures against the pests. Even the govt. can be employ the plant protection or IPM project for the Brinjol just like the mealy bug awareness programm in Punjab and spodoptera management programm in Vidarbha, Maharashtra By NCIPM.

Dr Suniti Kumar Mandal Jun 25th, 2010 11:41 PM

No GM crop is needed to feed the  people of the world. Though the achivemenmt of gene transfer from distant organisms is  no doubt a great achivement from the sceintific point of view. But it is not necessary to bring those crops to the field. It is against the nature. GM Crops are hermful to the environment and also hermful to the human health. It creates only to capture the world seed market. I am surprising to see the role of our Goverment.  We should raise our voice to stop introduction of any GM Crop in our country. We should also resist to stop all experimental trial of GM crops in our country also as  introduced gene  may transfer to other related or unrelated plants and that may cause serious environmental problems. So it is wise to stop releasing any GMO to the fields.  

shivani Jun 22nd, 2010 05:42 PM

Now its time to be aware and stand together to stop such disasters from happening... If once Bt enters, it will ruin our country. 
People should NOW leave their selfish interests aside and think about the society, community, future generations and a nation as a whole. Are we going to give a hell life to the future generations???

ramesh.nair May 27th, 2010 03:10 PM

Its better not to take experiments with human body.Once it is proved it is hazardous to living things better wait till we get full proof safe certificate from regulatory bodies of genetic engineering. 

Jithin May 23rd, 2010 11:53 AM

Well, i agree that BT Brinjal is hazardous. But according to me it is better and safer to follow what nature has told us.

Rangnath Aher May 20th, 2010 07:44 PM

We will look this matter very positively, after some changes bt brinjal is a need of world. It will be  improve yields and help the agriculture sector.

yashwant Apr 25th, 2010 10:20 PM

BT brinjals,in production,might be in large quantity but it can harm our healths.moreover the bt brinjal seed give more production but it absorbs the main nutrients of soil.It should be only allowed in India if it does not have any effects on our health.

ravi Mar 29th, 2010 06:18 PM

until we know all its possibility we should use only product not to be eaten . After long time we come to conculiosn to use of BT crop

Mahesh Meena Mar 09th, 2010 12:13 PM

Though Bt brinjal has so much to criticize atleast for one thing we should be thankful to it. We have always ingnored the standardization of food industry. In a country like india we can grow and cook and sell from hotels to roadside eateries. With this atleast Bt brinjal is seeking our attention towards the safety of people from food. In our country there is no check on fruits and vegetables. It can be sold even after weeks after coming to store/shop. No one cares watever it may contain. One side we are looking for insect free brinjal for farmers in their interest. Before that we should see that the insected brinjal is not rejected in farms, how it is coming to store and shop? there is no check on quality of fruits and vegetables. Anybody listening????

P sarkar Mar 06th, 2010 02:23 PM

While approving the BT cotton lots of promises wew given, now it has failed to stand against the commitment, what will happen to those farmer familes. Who takes the onus? When the E.U. has rejected the BT how come our country with much less scientific resources can decide to go ahead and cultivate this?.

veeramani.p Feb 28th, 2010 12:08 PM

Gandhi philosophy 'SWADESI' is fit all times.Present world must follow it.

Kailash Shadangi Feb 25th, 2010 12:31 PM

When there are lot of things to resolve, why the UPA Govt is so doggedly trying to push through the Bt.brinjle in to the Indian Market ? Has the Govt no other work than to marketing only brinjle produced by an American businiss company ? It is the greatest shame for a country like ours.

SAKET RATHI Feb 21st, 2010 11:03 AM


Prasad Feb 19th, 2010 03:36 PM

Whenever man goes against the nature it is always ended up with some sort of failures one day or the other. Development of science should go along with the nature and not deviating it.Then only the results will be stable. Instead of concentrating on developing the rich natural resources of india, we still trying to bring something new only for the sake of creating new things...Living with nature is a blessing and going along with it will give a peaceful journey of life for all the current and forecoming generations...

Suprit Parulkar Feb 16th, 2010 10:25 PM

The Bt brinjal should pass the riquired tests or it can be harmfull for the public. As most of the public demands for fresh and natural supply of food, i support it too. We have been having the natural ones from generations and it till now has not harmed us in anyway. So why take the risks and try the Bt brinjals. Ya, it is true that "what is bad in trying" but "being safe is better than being sorry" is also true and i support it.

R.N.Bhattacharjee Feb 10th, 2010 07:32 PM

The imparts anti-pest quality in the brinjal that may be provided by
gene of Bacillaus thuringiesis will be temporary as the guileful pest with their super bioengineering ability will soon overcome the anti-pest quality and after that it will be impossible to control them.Let the natural process operates.Do not allow contamination of natural gene and consequent destruction of diversity of brinjal all of which have evolved naturally.Once the diversity is lost no seed industry will be able to bring back the genes lost

R.N.Bhattacharjee Feb 10th, 2010 07:03 PM

Bacillus thuringiesis gene that impart anti-pest quality to the brinjal will not last as the pest will develop mechanism to overcome the impact as many bacteria has turned antibiotic resistant and by this time the gene migration from Bt brinjal will contaminate other varieties of brinjal reversing the natural evolutionary process that created so many varieties of it and finally reducing diversity of brinjal

Sarathi Feb 10th, 2010 02:14 PM

There are many kinds of vegetable grown in India. Indians do not have any limitations in growing and eating vegetables. Why then this Bt Brinjal is genetically modified and pushed to peoples plates. This is not a substitute for any vegetable and is not liked by majority of people. If brinjal is not available, yet there are lot of other vegetables.   What is the point in modfiying brinjal forcing people to eat  without knowing knowing about it.   Sadly our huge population is unaware of this kind of food and their effects on health.

Amit Das Feb 10th, 2010 12:57 PM

Brinjal is not a staple food in India then why is the Govt. so interested to introduce something which is controversial and dangerous for its own people. If at all genetically crop are to be introduce the it should be only cash crops. Mr.Jayram and team please listen to the heart of the nation otherwise in no time you will be sitting in the opposition bench. The people of this country are not Lab animals! Do not mess with us.

Girish Kukreti Feb 10th, 2010 09:28 AM

We need natural products to be eaten made in natural enviornment not produced for humane consumption by artificially injecting anti insect chemicals to boost its production. The consequences surely will effect the consumers therefore should be banned wef. 
Girish Kukreti

md.ishrath ali Feb 09th, 2010 10:19 PM

These BT brinjal has to be cultivated and should pass the necessary tests. Then it should take permission from regulatory bodies of Genetic Engineering. one thing i want to clear that, if people are making this as a hazard and developing a negative sense on GM foods in public, then what about the future researches? what is the role of GE in agriculture?

AB Raka Feb 09th, 2010 09:53 PM

Indians are not very aware of hazards that these crops poses ...they damages the gene pool of the crop and possibly also our body..there are a tonne of concers on this issue in the scientific world. Sadly most of our country is totally unaware of them -- I recommend watching the Award winning documentary "The World according to Monsanto" for a primer.

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