Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Growing fatter on GM diet
By Arild S. Foss
July 17, 2012
Rats being fed genetically modified food eat more and grow fatter than those on a non-GM diet.
Since genetically modified (GM) food started to appear in shops in the early nineties, large quantities have been sold for human consumption – without any harmful effects, as far as we know. But is there a risk of a long-term impact?
An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway.
”We are trying to identify which indicators we need to measure in order to explore unintentional effects from GM food,” explains Professor Åshild Krogdahl of the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.
”The findings could give us some understanding of the potential effects for these animal species as well as for humans.”
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monsanto Bt crops: genetically modified corn linked to soil ecosystem threat
By Ryan Villarreal
International Business Times
April 17, 2012
Bioengineering agricultural giant Monsanto has touted the safety of genetically modified crops, but a new study has found that insecticide-containing corn can be harmful to the overall health of soil ecosystems.
Genetically modified corn has been linked to a decrease in a subterranean fungus that forms a symbiotic bond with plant roots, allowing them to draw in more nutrients and water from the surrounding soil in exchange for carbon.
Researchers at Portland State University conducted a study to examine the effects of corn genetically engineered with the bacteria-derived insecticidal toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, on growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).
AMF is important for the overall health and fertility of soil ecosystems, and was found to form less bonds with the roots of Bt corn than with non-Bt corn.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Popular weedkiller causes deformities in amphibians
By Bob Berwyn
Summit County Citizens Voice, USA
April 3, 2012
SUMMIT COUNTY - Exposure to sub-lethal doses of a widely used weed killer caused tadpoles to grow abnormally large tails, according to University of Pittsburgh biologist Rick Relyea, who has been studying ecotoxicology and ecology for two decades.
Relyea has conducted extensive research on the toxicity of Roundup® to amphibians. Monsanto has challenged some of the studies and Relyea has responded to the criticism.
In his latest study, Relyea set up large outdoor water tanks that contained many of the components of natural wetlands. Some tanks contained caged predators, which emit chemicals that naturally induce changes in tadpole morphology (such as larger tails to better escape predators).
After adding tadpoles to each tank, he exposed them to a range of Roundup® concentrations. After 3 weeks, the tadpoles were removed from the tanks. “It was not surprising to see that the smell of predators in the water induced larger tadpole tails,” Relyea said. “That is a normal, adaptive response. What shocked us was that the Roundup® induced the same changes.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Study ties GMO corn, soybeans to butterfly losses
By Josephine Marcotty
March 16, 2012
Herbicide-resistant crops can withstand Roundup, which kills monarchs’ preferred nesting plant
Genetically engineered corn and soybeans make it easy for farmers to eradicate weeds, including the long-lived and unruly milkweed.
But they might be putting the monarch butterfly in peril.
The rapid spread of herbicide-resistant crops has coincided with — and may explain — the dramatic decline in monarch numbers that has troubled some naturalists over the past decade, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University.
Between 1999 and 2010, the same period in which so-called GMO crops became the norm for farmers, the number of monarch eggs declined by an estimated 81 percent across the Midwest, the researchers say. That’s because milkweed — the host plant for the eggs and caterpillars produced by one of one of the most gaudy and widely recognized of all North American butterflies — has nearly disappeared from farm fields, they found.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Monsanto’s Roundup threatens stability of global food supply
By Anthony Gucciardi
March 13, 2012
Monsanto’s reckless disregard for public health and the agricultural stability of the planet may be even more significant than previously thought. A shocking new report reveals how Monsanto’s Roundup is actually threatening the crop-yielding potential of the entire biosphere. The report reveals that glyphosate, which was developed by Monsanto in the early 1970s and is the active ingredient in its patented herbicide Roundup, may be irreversibly devastating the microbiodiversity of the soil - compromising the health of the entire planet, as a result.
New research published in the journal Current Microbiology highlights the extent to which glyphosate is altering, and in some cases destroying, the very microorganisms upon which the health of the soil, and - amazingly - the benefits of raw and fermented foods as a whole, depend. Concerningly, certain beneficial strains of bacteria used as food-starters in cultures for raw yogurt, such as Lactobacillus cremoris, have entirely disappeared from certain geographic regions where traditionally they were found in plenty. The study reports that the death and growth inhibition of selected food microorganisms was observed in concentrations of Roundup that are lower than are recommended in agricultural practice.
This means that farmers who are increasingly using larger and larger concentrations of Roundup and similar glyphosate-based herbicide formulations to countermand the increasingly resistant super weeds GM agriculture has spawned, are not only damaging the immediate health of the soil, but subsequent yields of indispensable food-starter microorganisms, as well as the microbes that ensure the overall fertility of the soil for producing crops well into the future.