About Us | Help Videos | Contact Us | Subscriptions


Coexistence in Maize: Isolation Distance in Dependence on Conventional Maize Field Depth and Separate Edge Harvest


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 50 No. 4, p. 1496-1508
    Received: Nov 2, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): maren.langhof@jki.bund.de
Request Permissions

  1. Maren Langhof *a,
  2. Bernd Hommelb,
  3. Alexandra Hüskenc,
  4. Charles Njontiec,
  5. Joachim Schiemannc,
  6. Peter Wehlingd,
  7. Ralf Wilhelmc and
  8. Gerhard Rühla
  1. a Institute for Crop and Soil Science, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
    b Institute for Strategies and Technology Assessment in Plant Protection, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, 14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany
    c Institute for Biosafety of Genetically Modified Plants, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, 06484 Quedlinburg, Germany
    d Institute for Breeding Research on Agricultural Crops, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, 18190 Groß Lüsewitz, Germany


The most reliable and practicable measure in assuring coexistence in respect to pollen-mediated gene flow from genetically modified (GM) to conventional maize (Zea mays L.) is an isolation distance separating GM and non-GM fields. Therefore, we tested distances between 24 and 102 m at three sites in northern Germany using a field orientation representing a worst case scenario concerning wind direction. During the 3 yr of field trials the highest levels of gene flow occurred at the site and year with the longest flowering synchrony and the strongest wind blowing constantly from the GM to the non-GM field. It was shown that the GM content of a neighboring non-GM maize field is mainly determined by wind speed and direction as well as by non-GM maize field depth. Based on the maximum outcrossing data obtained it can be concluded that for non-GM maize fields being 200 m deep or more an isolation distance of 50 m is sufficient to keep the GM content of the total fields grain harvest below the European Union (EU) labeling threshold of 0.9%. However, non-GM grain maize fields with smaller field depth require larger isolation distances or additional coexistence measures. In most cases discarding 6 m of the GM maize facing non-GM maize field edge has proven to be such a valuable measure. In silage maize production 50 m isolation distance is adequate even for non-GM maize field depths down to 50 m. We recommend flexible separation distances in dependence on non-GM maize field depth to comply with EU coexistence requirements.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2010. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America