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Pathogen in Roundup Ready Soy and Corn Could Lead to Calamity, Scientist Warns

2/21/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Roundup Ready, pathogens, soy, corn, agriculture

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnail 

A new self-replicating, micro-fungal virus-size organism could be causing spontaneous abortions in livestock, sudden death syndrome in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy and wilt in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, a plant pathologist has warned U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Rady Ananda reports today in that Dr. Don M. Huber, who coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens committee of the American Phytopathological Society, has found that “the pathogen threatens the U.S. food and feed supply and can lead to the collapse of the U.S. corn and soy export markets.” The USDA’s recent move to deregulate GE alfalfa “could be a calamity,” he stated.

'My letter to Secretary Vilsack was a request to allocate necessary resources to understand potential nutrient-disease interactions before making (in my opinion) an essentially irreversible decision on deregulation of RR alfalfa,' Huber told Food Freedom in an email.

Huber told Paul Tukey of SafeLawn, “I believe we’ve reached the tipping point toward a potential disaster with the safety of our food supply. The abuse, or call it over use if you will, of Roundup, is having profoundly bad consequences in the soil. We’ve seen that for years. The appearance of this new pathogen may be a signal that we’ve gone too far.”

Huber calls for an immediate moratorium on deregulating Roundup Ready crops until glyphosate and/or Roundup Ready plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health. “It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts,” he wrote in his letter to Vilsack. “It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.

“I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years,” Huber concludes. “We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.”

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