GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Function Breakdown of phytic acid
Application Feed additive
Production using gene technology common
Labelling no


Phytase breaks down phytic acid (phytate), thereby releasing phosphate. Phytase naturally is present in many plants and microorganisms.


Phytase is used as an additive in feed for non-ruminants such as pigs and poultry.

  • Unlike ruminants, these animals are not able to absorb the essential phosphates which are contained in plant feed.

    Adding phytase to the feed of pigs and poultry makes them able to digest and extract phosphate from feed plants as a nutrient. The traditional supplementary feeding with phosphates becomes unnecessary.

  • Thus, the phosphate content of manure is reduced and the resulting, environmental phosphate load is minimized.

Gene technology

Production of phytase on an industrial scale only became possible upon the utilization of appropriate genetic modification of microorganisms. This facilitated its use as a feed additive.

  • As a rule, phytase is produced with the aid of genetically modified microorganisms. In this process, mould cultures (Aspergillus and Trichoderma) were used.

  • In Europe, there are six preparations in trade, of which only one (Aspergillus niger) is produced conventionally.

  • To date, several phytase preparations that are manufactured with the aid of genetically modified organisms have been assessed as feed additives from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

The enzyme also now may be obtained with the aid of a conventional yeast known as Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

Labelling: labelling of enzymes in regard to their production using GM microorganisms is generally not foreseen in the European Union.



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