GMO and Roundup®

When you apply Roundup® to it — as we find with some other Roundup-ready crops — then that disease becomes very intense because the Roundup® will nullify the genetic resistence. So in corn for instance, in 2012 we lost one Billion bushel of corn to a disease that was considered a very wimpy disease of no significant economic consequence througout the corn belt, and that’s Goss’s Wilt.

~ Dr. Don Huber from,

Dr. Huber is — this is my personal take on the matter — the original whistle-blower on Roundup®. I do not like Dave Asprey’s interview style, but I gladly sat through Dave to hear Dr. Huber. If you’re not yet ready to commit to listening, here’s a few things to make you either listen, or rage-quit industrialized food entirely:

Roundup® is a brand name for a (relatively) simple molecule first used to remove scale from the inside of boilers. Generally, the chemical is called Glyphosate. Originally discovered in 1950, in 1964 it was first used as a “chelator” — that is a chemical that will grab and bind minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc — to remove scale.

Wait. So why does it kill plants? Why is it used as a weed killer? Turns out that trace minerals are like keys to many biologic processes. A zinc atom unlocks this process, a magnesium atom unlocks that process, etc.. If you expose a plant to a chelator, each molecule of the chelator locks on to a mineral atom, and the plant dies for lack of minerals. (Glyphosate is special in that it locks on to MANY minerals. Most other known chelators only grab a specific mineral.) So Glyphosate kills all plants. (Actually, if you think about it, it would kill anything which relies on the minerals that the chelator locks on to. Care to guess if animals rely on minerals too?)

So at first look, chelators are NOT very useful on crops because they kill the crops along with the weeds. This is where the GMO versions of our food crops come into the picture: They are modified (bred, selected, etc.) to resist the chelator. So you can now spray the chelator on the entire field and only the crop survives.

I don’t know about you, but I find that all pretty depressing. But wait! It’s actually so much worse…

Bonus round 1: Does the modified food crop have any other differences? What if the GMO crop was entirely wiped out — as in erased from the planet — by some disease it was formally resistant to? (hint: pull quote above)

Bonus round 2: Does the chelator remain in the food crop? Does it end up in our food products? Is it present in sufficient quantity in the food products to have a meaningful affect?

Bonus round 3: What would happen to proteins in one’s body if the Glyphosate molecule (the chelator meant to pull minerals from the scale inside boilers) happened to be chemically similar enough to one of our normal amino acids (glycine)?

Bonus round 4: What’s the half-life (how many years must elapse before 1/2 of the stuff remains) of Glyphosate? How long after it’s sprayed on a field will it continue being picked up by anything that grows there?