Monday, October 28, 2013
Monsanto may not be a perfect company, but it sure doesn’t deserve the constant hammering by the anti GMO-crowd. The lack of basic biologic understanding, and the willingness to accept the lies, the pseudoscience, and the bad science perpetrated on the Internet and “expert” journalists amazes me.
A letter writer on Oct. 15 implied that the oranges she purchased and which never molded, decayed, or lost their fresh, delicious taste in over three months could have done only if they were genetically modified. Problem is, there are no GMO oranges. She just had excellent storage conditions.
A letter writer on Oct. 23 claims that “Roundup is not biodegradable and remains in the soil indefinitely.” Totally wrong. The biodegration of Roundup in plants and in the soil is well-researched and documented. The Roundup molecule is composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and phosphorous. When Roundup is applied to a plant, the plant immediately begins tearing the molecule apart.
If the application rate is sublethal, this process wins and the plant recovers. The byproducts of this degradation are carbon dioxide, ammonia and phosphate. The latter two are plant nutrients and end up in plant tissue, so the end result is a slight fertilization of the plant.
The plant cares not where its nitrogen and phosphorus come from — be it manure, a bag, or a degraded herbicide. Research has shown that this process is complete in 50 days or less.
So if you eat one of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” plants 50 days after the Roundup application, no residue will enter your body. So how does Roundup sometimes show up in food samples? Mainly due to preharvest desiccation applications after which little degradation occurs. And that is a legal application to many crops, GMO or not.
Soil degradation of Roundup follows the same path. Bacteria break it into carbon dioxide and a weak organic acid, which is then divided into more carbon dioxide, ammonia and phosphate — once again, plant nutrients. This process is accomplished in a few weeks to several months depending on soil moisture and temperature.
Roundup kills green plants, and only green plants, by disrupting an enzyme that catalyzes the production of amino acids necessary for chlorophyll production. The plant starves to death. To counter this effect, Monsanto scientists transferred a gene from a soil bacteria that uses the same enzyme for the same purpose. The enzyme resulting from this gene, however, is slightly different. It ignores the Roundup molecule, allowing chlorophyll production to proceed. Meanwhile, the plant machinery dismantles the Roundup.
Vote “no” on Initiative 522.