Notification report

General information

Notification Number

Member State to which the notification was sent

Date of acknowledgement from the Member State Competent Authority

Title of the Project
Notification according to Directive 2001/18/EC, Part B, for the deliberate release of glyphosate-tolerant sugar beet (H7-1) for field trials in Germany

Proposed period of release:
01/03/2008 to 30/11/2011

Name of the Institute(s) or Company(ies)
Planta GmbH, Grimsehlstr. 31
D-37574 Einbeck;

3. Is the same GMPt release planned elsewhere in the Community?

Has the same GMPt been notified elsewhere by the same notifier?

If yes, notification number(s):
B/BE/00/VSP2; B/FR/00/07/01; B/FR/99/11/02; B/IT/99/03; B/IT/99/27; B/IT/99/36;

Other notifications
Many field trials have already been conducted across sugar beet growing regions in Europe, Russia, and North and South America.

Further notifications: C/DE/00/08, according to EC Directive 2001/18 Part C and UK 2004 08 according to EEC Regulation 1829/2003

Genetically modified plant

Complete name of the recipient or parental plant(s)
Common NameFamily NameGenusSpeciesSubspeciesCultivar/breeding line
sugar beetchenopodiaceaebetabeta vulgarisvulgaris var. sacchariferaR01, H7-1

2. Description of the traits and characteristics which have been introduced or modified, including marker genes and previous modifications:
H7-1 sugar beet expresses the CP4 EPSPS protein, derived from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4, which provides tolerance to glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient of the herbicide Roundup.

Genetic modification

3. Type of genetic modification:

In case of insertion of genetic material, give the source and intended function of each constituent fragment of the region to be inserted:
H7-1 contains the cp4 epsps gene which codes for the CP4 EPSPS protein derived from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4. This protein confers tolerance to glyphosate.
A full description of the genetic elements in H7-1, including the approximate size, source and function is provided in Table 1.

Table 1 Genetic elements inserted in H7-1 sugar beet

Genetic elements Size (kb) Function

Right border 0.025 A 21-25 bp nucleotide sequence that acts as the
initial point of DNA transfer into plant cells
originally isolated from A. tumefaciens pTiT37
P-FMV 0.672 The 35S promoter from a modified Figwort Mosaic
Virus (FMV)
ctp2 0.31 The N-terminal chloroplast transit peptide sequence
from the Arabidopsis thaliana EPSPS gene
cp4 epsps 1.363 The 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase
(CP4 EPSPS) gene from Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4
E9 3’ 0.63 The 3’ end of the Pisum sativum rbcS E9 gene,
containing polyadenylation sites that direct mRNA
processing and polyadenylation
Left border 0.025 A 21-25 bp nucleotide sequence that delimits the T-
DNA transfer into plant cells, originally isolated
from A. tumefaciens plasmid pTi15955, a derivative
of the octopine type plasmid pTiA6

6. Brief description of the method used for the genetic modification:
A disarmed Agrobacterium tumefaciens plant transformation system was used to produce event H7-1. This delivery system is well documented to transfer and stably integrate transferred DNA (T-DNA) into the plant nuclear chromosome. The vector used is PV BVGT08. The original transformation was conducted by using a diploid fertile sugar beet line.

7. If the recipient or parental plant is a forest tree species, describe ways and extent of dissemination and specific factors affecting dissemination:
Not applicable

Experimental Release

1. Purpose of the release:
• Acquisition of phenotypic characteristics of the GMPt during the growing season and comparison with conventional sugar beet varieties
• Acquisition and evaluation of agronomic properties, e.g. susceptibility to plant pests and diseases, germination characteristic and so forth of the GMPt as compared to conventional sugar beet varieties
• Compositional analysis and evaluation of leaves and beets, yield performance and processing quality of the beets
• Acquisition of data concerning the expression of the introduced CP4 EPSPS protein in different tissues of the GMPt during the growing season
• Generate data to assess potential impacts of the GMPt on non-target organisms in the agricultural environment as compared to conventional sugar beet varieties

2. Geographical location of the site:
The selected sites are located in the following localities:
D-37154 Wetze (Lower Saxony)
D-37154 Northeim (Lower Saxony)
D-39365 Dreileben (Saxony-Anhalt)
D-18184 Thulendorf (Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania)
It is planned to notify further locations according to Decision 94/730/EC in the following years.

3. Size of the site (m2):
The size of the sites planted with H7-1 will be 6.000 m2 per location and year at maximum.

4. Relevant data regarding previous releases carried out with the same GM-plant, if any, specifically related to the potential environmental and human health impacts from the release:
H7-1 sugar beet has been released for field-testing at several locations in the U.S.A., Canada, Russia, Chile and the EU 27 since 1995. These field trials were conducted to produce material for regulatory studies and to assess agronomic performance (efficacy, selectivity, yield assessment).
Following rigorous regulatory assessment, environmental authorizations have been received in the U.S.A. (2005), Canada (2005), and Japan (2007) for H7-1 sugar beet.
The results of the release in these countries showed no evidence that H7 1 sugar beet is likely to cause any adverse effects to human or animal health and the environment.
Further on H7-1 sugar beet received authorisation for food and feed importation in the EU according to Regulation (EC) 1829/2003 in October 2007.

Environmental Impact and Risk Management

Summary of the potential environmental impact from the release of the GMPts:
Analysis of the characteristics of H7-1 has shown that the risk of potential adverse effects on human health or the environment, resulting from the deliberate release of this sugar beet for field testing, is negligible:

• The risk of the introduced trait in H7-1 to be the cause of any meaningful competitive advantage or disadvantage in natural environments is negligible. The likelihood of unintended spreading of H7-1 in the non-agricultural environments is negligible, as sugar beet is neither persistent nor invasive and these parameters are unaltered when compared to conventional sugar beet.
• Outcrossing will be negligible since this application is for consent to cultivate H7-1 sugar beet for trial purposes, implying that sugar beet is grown for its vegetative root and the lifecycle is limited to the vegetative stage in agricultural production.
• As H7-1 sugar beet is herbicide tolerant it has no target organisms with which to interact, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, no characteristics that may cause any adverse environmental effects could be identified.
• Based on the well-characterised mode of action of the EPSPS enzymes and the confirmation through studies of no adverse effects found, it is highly unlikely that H7 1 sugar beet would be hazardous to non-target organisms. The ecological interactions with non-target organisms or the biochemical processes in soil are considered similar to the ones caused by conventional sugar beet.
• Any occupational health aspects of handling H7-1 are not different from conventional sugar beet. Additionally this sugar beet was shown not to cause any toxic or allergenic effects in humans or animals and to be as safe and nutritious as any other sugar beet without any consequences for the feed/food chain.
• The environmental impact of the cultivation, management and harvesting techniques applied in the planned trials is considered no different from the cultivation of any other sugar beet.

Since no characteristics of H7-1 could be identified that may cause adverse effects on human health or the environment, no risk management strategies are considered necessary.

The nature of the product and the objective of the genetic modification is to improve weed management practices in sugar beet. Weed management is an expensive, labour intensive, and in some cases complicated operation necessary for optimal production efficiency of sugar beet. No single currently-registered herbicide offers the broad spectrum weed control afforded by Roundup. Instead, farmers today must resort to using several applications of multiple herbicides with high input of the respective chemicals.
The use of H7-1 sugar beet for sugar beet production would enable farmers to use Roundup herbicide for effective and sustainable control of weeds while making use of the benefits of Roundup’s environmental safety characteristics. This new glyphosate-tolerant sugar beet could positively impact current agronomic practices, reducing energy consumption and soil erosion.

Brief description of any measures taken for the management of risks:
Possibly appearing bolters in the trial plots will be removed before flowering so that no pollen will be produced by transgenic plants. For this purpose the experimental sites will be controlled with regard to the appearance of bolters in relevant spaces of time, at least every two weeks. For this reason sowing of a cover crop is not required as the risk of hybridization with other beets and herbaceous plants is not relevant.
The sowing depth for the transgenic beet seed is 2-3 cm, as it is usual for conventional sugar beet. Accordingly the seed material will be as far as possible prevented from carryover by wildlife. Mechanical carryover during sowing is inhibited by control and cleaning of the sowing machine on the experimental site.
The experimental site will be controlled a further year after the release. Possibly emerging beet plants are removed by mechanical, manual or chemical measures. The plant material remains on the site or may be carried to compost preparation facilities.
During the growing season after the release, no sugar beets are cultivated on the experimental site. Accordingly possibly emerging beets can be identified and eliminated.
For further analysis non-required plant material and vegetative plant residues are left on the experimental site or will be carried to another release site for deactivation. The plants are destroyed by appropriate measures as chopping or chemical measures and will be incorporated shallow into the soil. Topped and non-reproductive sugar beets may alternatively be carried to compost preparation facilities. In no case crop material and plant residues from sugar beet will enter the food/feed chain.
The experimental site will be controlled regularly during the release and additionally one year after finalization of the release.
Due to the information given in the previous section and the described measures (e.g. prevention of pollen formation and flowering), a risk for human and the environment is excluded.
Emergency plans are not required because the risk of the released GM sugar beets and the seeds on human health and the environment is negligible.
No further measures as described above are required because no risks for human health and the environment are anticipated by the released sugar beets.

Summary of foreseen field trial studies focused to gain new data on environmental and human health impact from the release:
The field trials will be conducted to generate further data concerning the following topics:
• Agronomic and phenotypic properties of the H7-1 sugar beets as compared with current cultivated conventional varieties
• Substantial composition of the leave and beet material, yield and processing quality of the beets
• Expression of the introduced protein in different tissues of the H7-1 sugar beet during the growing season
• Quantification of potential impacts of the H7-1 sugar beet on non-target organisms

Final report

European Commission administrative information

Consent given by the Member State Competent Authority:
31/03/2008 00:00:00