Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Huber about GMO - VIDEOSubmitted by Musicians and H... on Sat, 12/10/2011 - 12:47
By Dr. Mercola
Dr. Don Huber is an expert in an area of science that relates to the toxicity of genetically engineered (GE) foods.
(Alternative terms for GE foods include genetically modified (GM), or "GMO" for genetically modified organism.)
His specific areas of training include soil-borne diseases, microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships.
Dr. Huber also taught plant pathology, soil microbiology, and micro-ecological interactions as they relate to plant disease as a staff Professor at Purdue University for 35 years.
GE Crops are Breaking the Agricultural System…
Agriculture is a complete 'system' based on inter-related factors, and in order to maintain ecological balance and health, you must understand how that system works as a whole.
Any time you change one part of that system, you change the interaction of all the other components, because they work together.
It is simply impossible to change just one minor aspect without altering the entire system…
Dr. Huber's research, which spans over 55 years, has been devoted to looking at how the agricultural system can be managed for more effective crop production, better disease control, improved nutrition, and safety. The introduction of genetically engineered crops has dramatically affected and changed all agricultural components:
* The plants
* The physical environment
* The dynamics of the biological environment, and
* Pests and diseases (plant-, animal-, and human diseases)
In this interview, Dr. Huber reveals a number of shocking facts that need to become common knowledge in order to stop this catastrophic alteration and destruction of our environment, our food supply, and ultimately, our own biology.
I urge you to listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript to understand fully appreciate the importance of this development.
Herbicides and Pesticides Immobilize Specific Nutrients
One of the major modifications done to genetically engineered food crops is the introduction of herbicide resistance. Monsanto is the leader in this field, with their patented Roundup Ready corn, cotton, soybean and sugar beets, which can survive otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup.
The working premise is that by making the plants resistant to the herbicide, farmers can increase yield by cutting down on weed growth. This premise has been found to be severely flawed however, as farmers around the world are now losing acreage to glyphosate-resistant super-weeds at an alarming rate. According to the British Institute of Science in Society, the US has fared the worst, now combating 13 different glyphosate-resistant weed species in 73 different locations.
But the introduction of glyphosate-resistance has also had a direct impact on soil microbes.
While the link between an herbicide (which is directed toward plants) and soil microbes may not be immediately apparent, this ripple effect occurs because, again, it's an inter-related system. In a nutshell, herbicides are chelators that form a barrier around specific nutrients, preventing whatever life form is seeking to utilize that element from utilizing it properly. That applies both to plants and soil microbes—as well as animals and humans.
This may actually be one of the primary reasons why genetically engineered foods appear to be able to cause such profound health problems in those who consume them. Any organism that has the same physiological pathways for these nutrients will be impacted in the same manner.
Dr. Huber explains:
"You have to realize what an herbicide, or a pesticide, is. They are metal chelators. In other words, they immobilize specific nutrients… [I]t's a compound that can grab onto another element and change either its solubility or its availability for the critical function it has physiologically. We have herbicides and pesticides that are quite specific just for a particular essential micronutrient like copper, zinc, iron, or manganese.
Glyphosate is very unique and was first patented as a chelator by Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1964, because it could bind with any positively charged ion. If you look at the essential minerals for plants, you see calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and all of those other critical transition elements, as well as structural components for some of them… They all have an ion associated with them. It's the micronutrient that is an ion—that is a transition element, or that element that is really critical for a particular enzyme function.
If you can chelate and, in that chelation process, essentially immobilize that essential nutrient, you have provided an opportunity to either kill a weed or damage and kill an organism—any organism… that have that particular requirement for that physiologic pathway with glyphosate or the shikimate pathway…
You have to realize that this mode of action immobilizes a critical essential nutrient. Those nutrients aren't just required by the weed, but they're required by microorganisms. They're required by us for our own physiologic functions. So if it's immobilized, it may be present if we do a regular test. But it's not necessarily physiologically available in the same efficiency that it would have been if it wasn't chelated with glyphosate…"
The Dangers of Glyphosate that Most People Have NO Idea Of
Glyphosate, even in plants genetically engineered to withstand it, affects about 25 different enzymes in the process of chelating, or immobilizing, critical micronutrients, because those ions (the micronutrients) are required in order to "drive" the physiological engines that make the plant or organism function properly.
"It is well documented that… having that foreign gene inserted reduces the capability of that plant to take up nutrients and to translocate nutrients," Dr. Huber says. "Then, when you apply the chemical [glyphosate], you have a further compounding effect in reducing the efficiency of the plants at rates as low as 12 grams per acre."
According to Dr. Huber, the nutritional efficiency of genetically engineered (GE) plants is profoundly compromised. Micronutrients such as iron, manganese and zinc can be reduced by as much as 80-90 percent in GE plants!
Many staunch defenders of genetically engineered foods are under the misconception that GE foods are "better" or have improved nutrition when the exact opposite is true. They also don't understand that the glyphosate residue cannot be removed or washed off—it actually becomes part of the plant. It cannot be washed off because it's systemic within the plant itself.
"It's going to be in your root tips, your shoot tips, your legume nodules, and in the food that you eat," Dr. Huber warns.
Furthermore, about 20 percent of the glyphosate migrates out of the plant's roots and into the surrounding soil. Once in the soil, the glyphosate affects beneficial soil microorganisms in the same way that it affects weeds, because they have the same critical metabolic pathway. With each new Roundup Ready crop approved, the glyphosate residues in the soil increases, and the tolerance levels in the crop increases as well.
This is explosive information that should make warning bells go off in most people's heads! Personally, I firmly believe we must all become activists to eliminate this threat to our food supply as soon as possible.
Food Quality is Related to Soil Quality
The quality of the food is almost always related to the quality of the soil. The most foundational and critical components of the soil are the microorganisms that thrive there—more so than the necessary nutrients, because it's the microorganisms that allow the plants to utilize those nutrients.
According to Dr. Huber:
"The plant can only utilize certain [reduced] forms of all the nutrients… The way that it becomes reduced in the soil is through those beneficial microorganisms. We also have microorganisms for legumes like soybeans, alfalfa, peas, or any of the other legumes that can fix up to 75 percent of their actual nitrogen for protein in amino acid synthesis that actually comes from the air through the microorganisms in the soil.
Glyphosate is extremely toxic to all of those organisms.
What we see with our continued use and abuse of this powerful weed killer is that it is also totally eliminating many of those organisms from the soil. We no longer have the same balance that we used to have. Consequently, we see an increase of over 40 new plant diseases, and diseases we used to have under fairly effective control, which now all of a sudden is another serious problem."
GE Foods Fueling Deadly Botulism in Cattle
The normal biological control organisms—the beneficial gut bacteria—in animals and humans are also very sensitive to residual glyphosate levels.
For example, toxic botulism is now becoming a more common cause of death in dairy cows whereas such deaths used to be extremely rare. The reason it didn't occur before was because beneficial organisms served as natural controls to keep the Clostridium botulinum in check. Without them, the Clostridium botulinum is allowed to proliferate in the animal's intestines and produce lethal amounts of toxins.
"Again, the agricultural system, as well as our own ecology, is really a balance," Dr. Huber says. "It's a system, not just a bunch of silver bullets that are stacked in a chamber of a revolver. It's how that ecological system is modified and changed that brings us a new level of diseases and problems with sustainability of our agriculture, our own health, and well-being."
MOST Major US Food Crops are Now Genetically Engineered!
Many still don't realize just how much of our food supply has been genetically engineered (GE). As of this year, 93 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered, as are:
* 86 percent of all corn
* 93 percent of canola
* 93 percent of cottonseed oil
Between 2008 and 2009, a full 95 percent of all sugarbeets planted were also Roundup Ready.
This means that virtually every processed food you encounter at your local supermarket that does not bear the "100% USDA Organic" label is likely to contain at least one GE component! Earlier this year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also deregulated genetically engineered alfalfa, which is a perennial crop commonly used in cattle feed.
According to Dr. Huber:
"Alfalfa is our fourth most important economic crop, by far the most nutritional feed for our herbivores. They, all of a sudden, can definitely be threatened—not only because of the direct effect of glyphosate on microorganisms, but also because it predisposes and can make that plant very susceptible to some common diseases…
We see this on corn… where we have the sister organism with the Goss's wilt, a bacterial disease. In that situation, we find that when we put glyphosate on, it nullifies all the genetic resistance that, in the past, made that disease of almost no consequence…Now we find it from coast to coast, East to West, from Mexico to Canada. For four years now, we have a major epidemic in a major food production area in the Midwest, just from that disease.
That is a direct result of our genetic engineering process, which reduces the genetic resistance, and the application of the herbicide that it was designed to tolerate."