Archive for the ‘Glyphosate’ Category

Instead of killing weevils we should have taken the time to learn fertility lessons from them. Dr. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan provide much insight.

Meet the Beetles: Heddi’s Weevils

The weevil, the scourge of neolithic man as his grain gardens began to expand, is with us today. This tiny beetle, and there are many kinds, lives entirely in Gramineae or Poaceae (members of the grass family). The latter are the seeds of the global expansion of our species: wheat, rice, corn, barley, and oats. The best-studied of these insects is Sitophilus oryzae, called the rice weevil but perfectly able to destroy stored grain of other kinds as well. It completes its entire life history inside a grain of rice or berry of wheat. Some feel these beetles evolve with us. Apparently this is because they discard the genes they no longer need as we provide them with the gene products they no longer have to make for themselves.

For seventy years the presence in these weevils of bacterial tissue (once called the mycetome as it was thought to be fungal) has been under investigation. A specialized larval organ called the bacteriome at the apex of the female’s ovary is packed with bacteriocytes. These swollen beetle cells harbor an enterobacterium that shares 95 percent genetic similarity with the common colon bacterium, E. coli. Found only in three locations in the insect—as the larval bacteriome in both males and females, as the female ovary bacteriome, and the eggs (the female germ cells)—this bacterium, like our mitochondria, is maternally inherited. This implies that both male and female infant weevils inherit the cells that will make up the bacteriome from their mothers. The sperm make no contribution. What do the bacteria provide? At least part of the answer, wrested from nature through painstaking work by many investigators, is: B vitamins. The bacterial genome is replete with genes that code for these crucial nutritional supplements, which include riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and biotin. When the bacteria are eliminated from the tissues by antibiotic or other treatment, the weevils’ growth rate is markedly diminished. Bacteria-deprived weevils mature later than symbiont-packed ones. Most importantly, because their supply of mitochondrial energy is impaired, the weevils that lack their normal bacteria cannot fly—an apt metaphor for the importance, in nature of symbiogenesis.

Weevil experts like Abdelazziz Heddi and his mentor, Professor Paul Nardon, at the Institute National des Sciences Appliquees in Lyon, France, call the highly integrated bacterium SOPE (Sitophilus oryzae Primary Endosymbiont). From China to Guadalupe to their own Lyonnaise backyard, to Italy where Umberto Pierantoni (1876-1959) first discovered it, all strains of S. oryzae weevils bear the same population of this bacterium in the same pattern. Perhaps the acquisition and integration of the symbiotic bacterium into the weevil’s metabolism coincided with the origin of the species oryzae.

The plot thickens: Heddi and his colleagues in the late 1990’s found a different kind of bacterial associate in weevils. Of some two dozen strains worldwide, representing three species of Sitophilus (oryzae, granarius, and zeamais), 57 percent harbored an additional bacterium in their tissues. Unlike SOPE, when the weevils were “cured” (by antibiotics) of the second bacterium, no effect was seen on the beetles’ physiology, nitrogen nutrition, or flight. Rather the new bacterium, which resembles the Wolbachia strain, was far less regular in its habits. The new bacterial symbiont is found in variable numbers all over the insect’s body with one notable exception: It is rampant in the germinal (sexual) tissues, especially where it can interact with developing sperm nuclei. Some investigators suspect that the new bacterium adheres to the peculiar chromatin-binding proteins of the sperm-producing tissue. Whatever the details of its action, this bacterium impacts the fertility of these prolific grain eaters. When males that carried the Wolbachia-like bacteria in their spermy tissues were mated with females that lacked it in any tissues, fertility was dramatically decreased. The reciprocal cross, females replete with these bacteria in many tissues with males that lacked it, also depressed fertility but less so. The number of progeny was maximal—to the great advantage of the opportunistic bacterium—when the Wolbachia-like bacterial symbionts were present in both genders of the mating pair. The effect of the symbiosis is thus to promote reproductive isolation. Matings of uninfected weevils are of course female, matings where both partners are infected are fertile, but mixed matings are less so. Reproductive isolation is of course one of the key elements of speciation.

The concept that reproductive isolation, and therefore incipient speciation, might be induced by the presence of microbial symbionts is not new to the biological literature. The idea was well articulated by Theodore Dobzhansky and his colleagues, who studied Drosophila in population cages. They mated fruit flies that had not been separated and subjected them to differing temperatures, cold and hot, for some two years. The matings had been fully fertile but now crosses between hot-raised flies and cold-raised ones were less than fully fertile. The probable cause of the decrease in fertility was the presence of mycoplasmas, wall-less bacteria, in cold conditions and the loss of that tissue invader at the higher temperatures of the warm-incubated population cage. Nardon, Heddi, and many other authors have documented this observation: If male and female of the same species of insect both carry the same bacterium in their tissues, their coupling produced normal offspring. Trouble begins, as with the rice weevil, when one gender carries microbes that the other lacks.

Dobzhansky and the others, though correct, were never explicit. They noted the presence and absence of bacteria and the effects on fertility, but they never raised this observation to the level of a general mechanism promoting speciation. When mycoplasmas or proteobacteria were acquired by one gender of insects and prevented fertile sexual outcomes unless the mate also carried the new microbe, “reproductive isolation” ensued and speciation followed. The attraction of bacteria to reproductive tissue in both females and males, especially in insects, was well documented by Paul Buchner (1886 – 1978) and his successors.

We again define species as follows:

Two live beings belong to the same species when the content and the number of integrated, formerly independent genomes that constitute them are the same. E. Mayr’s species concept of 1948, which states that organisms may be assigned to the same species if, in nature, they mate and produce fertile offspring, becomes one example of our general rule. Mayr’s concept is especially applicable to animals, who daily eat bacteria that may pass from the intestines to take up lodging in the gonads and other fatty reproductive tissue. The tiny strangers may swim through their tissue, find a niche, stay, and influence the future of what may become a new species with a whole new set of useful genes (the foreign genome from the talented but now lazy bacterium). – Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origin of Species by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (Portions from pages 91- 95)

Then you can better understand the significance of this.

“A 1975 company memo disclosed that Rely tampons contained known cancer-causing agents and that the product altered the natural organisms found in the vagina. Rely tampons were taken off the shelves in 1980, but many women claim they left a legacy of hysterectomies and loss of fertility… Among health-conscious women, the toxicity of mainstream tampons has long been an issue of concern. “Just as I say heck no to Cottonseed oil, it is for the same reason I say heck no to sticking toxic cotton up into my nethers,” writes Meghan Telpner. “Did ya know that 84 million pounds of pesticides are sprayed on 14.4 million acres of conventional cotton grown each year in the US…

Now Monsanto’s toxic herbicide has been found in 80% of feminine hygiene products

Fast forward to 2015. Now glyphosate, the chemical found in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide used on genetically modified cotton crops, is being discovered in the vast majority of feminine hygiene products.” – Are you putting Monsanto in your vagina? 85% of tampons and feminine hygiene products contaminated with cancer-causing glyphosate herbicide by Mike Adams


We’ve allowed “The Council of Gods” (IG Farben Directors) to advance their technologies that destroy us all. If working class citizens had fully understood the significance of their plans then we should have made certain Otto Ambros hanged instead of only served 3 years for his mass murder slavery conviction at Nuremberg. The ruling class have no problem exterminating all working class citizens of the world now right along with our weevil. There destruction will be the cause of the destruction of our own species. It all started below.

“Dr. Schrader had been working at an insecticide lab for IG Farben in Leverkusen, north of Cologne, for several years. By the fall of 1936, he had an important job on his hands. Weevils and leaf lice were destroying grain across Germany, and Schrader was tasked with creating a synthetic pesticide that could eradicate these tiny pests. The government had been spending thirty million reichsmarks a year on pesticides made by Farben as well as other companies. IG Farben wanted to develop an insect killer that could save money for the Reich and earn the company a monopoly on pesticides…. Dr. Schrader sent a sample of this lethal new fumigant to Farben’s director of industrial hygiene, a man named Professor Eberhard Gross (not to be confused with Dr Karl Gross, the Waffen-SS bacteriologist connected with the Geraberg discovery). Gross tested the substance on an ape in inside the inhalation chamber. He watched this healthy ape die in sixteen minutes. Professor Gross told Dr. Schrader that his Preparation 9/91 was being sent to Berlin and that he should wait for further instruction on what action to take next.

At Dustin, Schrader told Major Tilley that when he learned his compound could kill a healthy ape through airborne contact in minutes, he became upset. His discovery was never going to be used as an insecticide, Schrader lamented. It was simply too dangerous for any warm-blooded animal or human to come into contact with. Schrader said his goal was to save money for the Reich….

“Everyone was astounded, ” Schrader told Tilley. This was the most promising chemical killer since the Germans invented mustard gas. Preparation 9/91 was classified as top secret and given a code name: tabun gas. It came from the English word “taboo,” something prohibited or forbidden… At the Dustbin interrogation center, Major Tilley asked Schrader about full-scale production. Based on the Allies’ discovery of thousands of tons of tabun bombs in the forests outside Raubkammer, Farben must have had an enormous secret production facility somewhere. Dr. Schrader said that he was not involved in full-scale production. That was the job of his colleague, Dr. Otto Ambros…. From Krauch, Major Tilley learned quite a bit more about Ambros. That he had been in charge of technical development of chemical weapons production at Gendorf and at Dyhernfurth. That Gendorf produced mustard gas on the industrial scale, and that Dyhernfurth produced tabun. Krauch also revealed a new piece of evidence. Dyhernfurth produced a second nerve agent, one that was even more potent than tabun, called sarin. Sarin was an acronym pieced together from the names of four key persons involved in its development: Schrader and Ambros from IG Farben and from the German Army, two officers named Rudiger and Linde.”- Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen (Pages 146 -149)

The working class citizens of the world pay a heavy price for not understanding the consequences of the technologies they subsidize nor their biological impacts.

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Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA by E.G. Vallianatos (Important Excerpts)

“Eliminating the public’s ability to halt the selling or planting of these seeds, the groups said, was removing the one sure way of checking this hugely profitable but potentially dangerous forced march toward the genetic engineering of our food.

We knew this was Bush’s view, of course: State Department cables reveal that the Bush administration threatened the European Union with sanctions unless EU governments allowed the planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds in Europe. But the phalanx of Monsanto men and women working for Obama simply confirms that it does not matter who presides over the White House or Congress. Corporations rule the kingdom. While still serving as Obama’s solicitor general, Elena Kagan wrote a brief requesting the Supreme Court to lift a ruling by an appeals court forbidding the planting in California of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa. In August 2010, Kagan was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. She sits beside Justice Clarence Thomas, who once served as a lawyer for Monsanto.
Indeed, when it comes to genetic engineering, “the Obama administration has not been better than the Bush administration, possibly worse,” wrote Jeffrey Smith, an expert on the health effects of bioengineered food. The triumph of Monsanto within the government is bad for our health and bad for the environment. Let me explain further by introducing Don Huber….

Don Huber knows a lot about biological weapons, and he knows a lot about plants. A retired colonel from the Army’s biological warfare corps, Huber taught plant diseases and soil microbiology at Purdue University for thirty-five years. He has also been the coordinator of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service National Plant Disease Recovery System, a program of the USDA. Of all the things he knows about biological weapons and crops, he is most concerned about the destructive effects of pesticides on the biological systems of plants….

On January 17, 2011, Huber wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, “For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks,” Huber wrote, “Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of high risk status. In laymen’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.

Huber explained that the pathogen is “a medium size virus” and “a micro-fungal-like organism” that can reproduce itself. It has been found in livestock feed made by soybeans and corn genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate (“Roundup soybean meal and corn”).  In addition, the pathogen has been found in pigs, cattle, and other animals that have been struck by spontaneous abortions and infertility. The pathogen “may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations,” Huber added. “These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.”

It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases,” Huber continued. Furthermore, glyphosate “dismantles plant defenses” against disease by immobilizing vital nutrients, which means the growing crop is starved of the nutrients it must have to defend itself against disease and to be nutritious. Such impoverished crops, says Huber, are causing “animal disorders.”

Someone leaked the letter Huber sent to Secretary Vilsack. Huber then sent his original letter to the European Union and the European Commission with a cover letter, dated April 20, 2011, explaining why he had felt compelled to write so urgently to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“I feel it would be totally irresponsible to ignore my own research and the vast amount of published research now available that support the concerns we are seeing in production agriculture,” Huber wrote. He cited evidence showing this new pathogen kills chicken embryos in 24 to 72 hours. The pathogen also intensifies many of the diseases afflicting crops, including an affliction known as Goss’s wilt that in 2010 caused American farmers to lose fully a billion bushels of corn…

Huber’s hopes were quickly dashed. Two weeks after he sent his letter to Vilsack, he received a letter back from the USDA: the government was determined to side with Monsanto on alfalfa. The letter assured Huber that the decision was based “on sound science informed by peer-review research….” – Portions from pages 204 – 207

“Huber responded to the USDA with a long and impassioned letter citing 135 scientific studies supporting his position. He was furious at the intimidation of scientists working on the risks of bioengineered crops, especially on the links between glyphosate and now-unregulated alfalfa.

“The current crop and animal production environment is NOT normal and NOT sustainable!” Huber wrote. “We are experiencing an escalating incidence of crop, animal, and human diseases, the emergence and reemergence of diseases once rare or under practical control, and new diseases previously unknown to science.”

Increasing incidences of disease in animal production programs, especially cattle, dairy, and swine, had become associated with low manganese or other micronutrients, Huber wrote. Manganese deficiencies are associated with infectious diseases, bone and tissue deformities, reproductive failure and death. Discovered just a decade previously, this new “electron-microscope-sized ‘organism’” was causing infertility and miscarriage in animals. “The excessive use of glyphosate is a major contributor to the increased severity and epidemics of plant and animal diseases, reduced nutrient quality, high mycotoxin levels, and toxic chemical residues we are experiencing in production agriculture,” Huber wrote. “I urge your consideration of the decision to deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa based on the principle of ‘Scientific Precaution’ until research can be completed relative to its safety, equivalency, and sustainability.”

Huber must have known that asking the USDA to undo the deregulation of alfalfa was hopeless. The Monsanto-controlled agency would not tolerate scientific resistance. So, on November 1, 2011, Huber left for England, where he made a presentation to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology of the British House of Commons, in which he repeated his conclusions he had reported to the USDA, the European Union, and the European Commission.

Now outside the suffocating atmosphere of USDA Huber expressed himself in less diplomatic language. Glyphosate “predisposes plants to disease” and stimulates pathogens” in the soil, he said. Glyphosate compromises the defense of crops against disease and kills the targeted plants by acting as a biological war agent—in a sense, by boosting disease organisms in the soil while killing disease resistance organisms….

Like Morton Biskind sixty years earlier, Don Huber spoke of “a new factor” in our civilization causing havoc in nature, human health, and global food security. The new factor for Biskind in 1953 was the “miracle” of DDT; for Huber in 2011, the danger was posed by a pathogen associated with another “miracle” chemical named glyphosate. In both cases, we have the sick feeling that little, if anything, has changed. The same irresponsible agribusiness policies reign, threatening the very integrity of our food and our health….

Huber, now an emeritus professor at Purdue, wrote to me in August 2012 to say that all his efforts with the USDA had “fallen on deaf ears.” The USDA was busy deregulating genetically modified crops, and scientists working at universities with industry contracts were in hot water: “Several scientists have been limited in what they can say or share, while others have been denied promotion or tenure,” Huber wrote. Thankfully, he said, his own research was still privately funded,” since we couldn’t take a chance on it being shut down earlier.”

Huber’s dire warning is like a sword hanging by a thread. The USDA “regulators” of genetically engineered crops continue with business as usual. In early 2012, they were ready to approve the dangerous herbicide 2.4-D (which, you will remember, was half of Agent Orange) for a new genetically modified corn. This action is certain to double the adverse effects of genetically modified crops. 2,4-D may even trump glyphosate as the greatest chemical threat to American agriculture. Its history of more than seventy years as a chemical weapon, and as a weed killer contaminated by the lethal 2378-dioxin, doesn’t bode well for America…. Dow has convinced the “regulators” of America, Canada, and the European Union that 2,4-D is safe…” – Portions from pages 208 –  212

“According to the EPA, 25% of samples of 2,4-D were contaminated with dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD), which is mutagenic, carcinogenic, and causes reproductive problems at very small doses.” (CDC NIOSH, 2005).

“Charles Benbrook, a former Capitol Hill staff scientist, has shown that, in the period between 1996 and 2011, the GM crops in the United States increased the use of pesticides by about 7 percent, or 404 million pounds a year.” – page 213

“In Wyoming, a small farmer named John Fenton has twenty-four gas wells on his farm, and his drinking water is full of poisons, including drilling fluids, driving muds, and high levels of the cancer causing benzene. Since the contamination, Fenton’s property has lost half of its value; he has to buy drinking water, though he still bathes in the contaminated water. Around his community, he has seen people with “a lot of neurological problems, neuropathy, seizures, people losing their sense of smell, sense of taste. People with their arms and legs going numb.”

Local officials, meanwhile, continue to tell Fenton his water is potable. When Fenton persuaded the EPA to test his water and investigate the fracking of gas wells under his land, the agency agreed with him: fracking had poisoned his water.

The political response to this evidence was predictable. House Republicans held a public meeting on the Fenton water testing case, but when the “public” actually showed up—in the form of Josh Fox, the producer of Garland, a documentary on the devastation caused by natural gas drilling—the elected officials had Fox arrested.

In May 2012, the Obama administration proposed regulations requiring drillers to reveal the composition of their fracking chemicals thirty days before they blasted underground deposits of oil and gas with those chemicals. Once again, industry pressure diluted the effort, and the lobbyists for ExxonMobil and other drillers convinced the White House to reverse the regulation. The drillers would name their fracking chemicals only after they completed their work.

Once again, we find ourselves asking fundamental questions: What does such a policy say about our country’s priorities? Who are such laws meant to protect? As with pesticides, so with fracking: America needs to reinvent itself, to reverse the pervasive and insidious influence of the petrochemical-agribusiness complex” – Portion from pages 227 – 228

“But with the testing of the various toxic compounds released into the human economy and environment, we now also know that pesticides “injure man’s genetic material in precisely the same way radiation does,” my EPA colleague John Hou-Shi Chen, a distinguished geneticist, told me more than thirty years ago. “And what is so awful about such genetic injury is that it is permanent—it can’t be recalled, corrected or somehow restricted to the victim, unless you also castrate the individual. So now with a greater number of pesticide poisons loose in the environment, we as a society are creating a generation of people who will be weak in facing the future. We are then changing, irreversibly, the future itself. The price for that change is—or should be—unacceptable to any people with dignity and respect for themselves and love for their children.”

I agree with this wisdom wholeheartedly. For decades, the EPA was my personal university, where I learned the hard way why America and the rest of the industrialized world have become so hooked on dangerous farm sprays. No science or policy has been allowed to interrupt this corruption. In fact, science and policy themselves have been made a prop to the pesticides industry and agribusiness.

This is a tragic turn of events, especially given the evidence. Tomes of scientific studies have shown farm sprays for what they are: biocides, which cause and promote insect infestations of crops; give cancer to animals and humans; and leave a trail of death among fish and wildlife.

Just as petroleum companies pay for fake “science” that muddles the debate about climate change, most studies funded by the chemical industry muddy the debate about pesticides. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA continue to take up the cause of agribusiness, with catastrophic consequences for family farmers, who have been almost completely swallowed up (or driven into bankruptcy) by industrial-scale farms. In the twentieth century, 98 percent of black farmers and more than 60 percent of white family farmers were forced off the land. The few large farmers and agribusinesses left in charge of rural America are hooked on pesticides precisely because these enable them to control their vast estates.”  – Page 230

“EPA officials know global chemical and agribusiness industries are manufacturing science. They know their products are dangerous. Yet industry power either corrupts or silences EPA scientists, who are forced then to bury or ignore the truth. Scientists find themselves working in a roomful of funhouse mirrors, plagiarizing industry studies and cutting and pasting the findings of industry studies as their own.

These are the behaviors of a traumatized organization. And these are the reasons why, fifty-two years after Silent Spring, farm sprays remain ubiquitous, their makers remain more powerful than ever, and we remain overwhelmed with diseases and imbalances in nature.

President Barack Obama—indeed, any president—needs to take human health and family farming much more seriously. He needs to discard the toxic policies of agribusiness in favor of small-scale agriculture that raises healthful food without injuring humans and wildlife or contributing to climate change. Traditional (and often organic) farmers—until seventy-five years ago, the only farmers there were—are slowly beginning to make a comeback. They have always known how to raise crops and livestock without industrial poisons. They are the seed for a future of good food, a healthy natural world, and democracy in rural America—and the world.”  – Portions from pages 235 – 236



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