Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Silver Bullets and Weed Control?

Photo courtesy An Nguyen's photostream

Many of us old-timers associate silver bullets with The Lone Ranger, who always left one as a calling card, and we associate a silver bullet with good guys in white hats. In folklore, a silver bullet was the only thing supposed to kill werewolves and witches... another example of a silver bullet being good.

The term has become a general metaphor where 'silver bullet' refers to any straightforward solution believed to have extreme effectiveness. The phrase typically appears where some new technology is expected to cure a major prevailing problem. 

One such "silver bullet" is glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's  Roundup™which is a broad-spectrum herbicide that kills weeds. The exact blend of ingredients in Roundup™ is a "trade secret" and not disclosed to the public. But is glyposate really a silver bullet? Is it really a 'good guy in a white hat'??

Research has discovered glyphosate in the soil can increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defenses against pathogens, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients making them unavailable for plant use. They also found glyphosate reduces manganese in plants... and manganese is essential for many defense mechanisms that protect plants from environmental stress as well as disease.

Glyphosate also immobilizes copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc so they are no longer nutritionally functional. When glyphosate is sprayed on a plant, it is absorbed and transported throughout the plant, where it accumulates in the roots (killing the plant) and migrates into the root zone. Some of the chemical is metabolized by soil micro-organisms in the root zone. However, it is also toxic to some bacteria and fungi, so the net effect is a actually a disruptor of soil ecology.

That means if you apply Roundup, it may kill the weed(s) but in the longer run, it may cause far more harm to the soil, and the eventual runoff has been shown to be cell membrane disruptors in fish, amphibians, and other microorganisms in our streams and lakes.

Monsanto assures the public that the ingredients in Roundup™ are inert and therefore non-toxic. To whom?

From NaturalNews.com about Roundup in our food chain:
As the percentage of genetically modified (GM) soy in the US burgeons to over 91%, researchers are beginning to publish harbingers for the potential of a maelstrom of future health problems from GMOs (genetically modified organisms). 

Monsanto's G, the secret blend of glyphosate named Roundup, is the active ingredient utilized in nearly 75% of all edible GM plants that have been engineered to tolerate high levels of this form of G. G works by inhibiting an enzyme that synthesizes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine thereby killing the weed. Researchers examining the amounts of herbicide used on GMO soy have concluded that the GMO soy typically receives several more pounds of G than conventionally grown soy per acre 

One of the potential harmful triggers includes the increased amounts of chemicals present in the environment disseminating at an alarming rate,  with few researchers examining the combined effects of these xenobiotics on plants, animals or humans. Similarly, much of the existing research on GMOs has been undertaken on the individual organism itself and neglects to examine the more important ecological issue of synergism.

Researchers have found that several types of newly created superweeds resistant to Roundup (e.g., pigweed, ryegrass and marestail) have been rapidly surfacing leading to increased amounts of Roundup used on such crops.

The researchers concluded that, "the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from R [Roundup] formulation-treated crops".

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.