The Canadian - Related Posts
A Great Resource … THE RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACTIVIST, RACHEL PARENT Founder, The Kids Right To Know: GMOs, Just Label It! Campaign
What is Corn Spliced With? GMO Genes Revealed!
For exactly three decades genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agricultural purposes have been in production. Under the premise of “trying to feed the world”, agricultural, chemical and chemical defense companies, their investors included, have given great praise to the transgenic creations their science teams have invented. If the products of genetically modified foods are so amazing that they will “end hunger” then why is the language praising them so uninformative, so incomplete, and why is the public uneducated as to what they even are?
If those who produce GMOs aren’t going to educate the public on what their products contain, and their results, then we might as well perform the research and bring the knowledge for you. As a means of education this article will specifically highlight the GMO technology ‘Bt’. We’ll talk a bit about the origination of Bt, it’s use within GMO technology, the byproducts that have resulted from it’s use and conclude with health and environmental effects.
What does the Bt stand for anyway?
“Bacillus thuringiensis, or simply Bt, is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that, when sprayed on plants, is toxic to certain pest insects. For years, farmers and home gardeners have used Bt as a microbial spray pesticide to control caterpillars, certain types of beetles, as well as mosquitoes and black flies.”
- EPA on Bt Regulation
It’s unbelievable that even this small bit of information is completely unknown to the average person who eats produce containing Bt, Bt genes or it’s byproduct almost daily. Bacillus thuringiensis has been used as a natural insecticide for nearly a century and can still be bought by anyone in it’s natural form today. This natural insecticide was first discovered by the Japanese scientist, Shigetane Ishiwatari, in 1901 while investigating the sotto disease. The sotto disease was a large problem at that time as it was killing the silkworm population, and silk is a very important cultural and economic resource in the region. When Ishiwatari isolated the bacterium he named it Bacillus sotto but when it was rediscovered in 1911 killing moths in Thuringia, Germany. The German scientist Ernst Berliner had renamed it to what we know today, but Bt wasn’t actively used as an insecticide by humans until the year 1920 in France.
The History of Bt
Bt in it’s natural form is considered a safe, natural and non-toxic insectide that is deadly to specific insects. For Bt to kill these insects it first has to be eaten. Upon digestion crystalline protein chains are released which slowly punch holes through the insect’s cell walls, causing the insect to stop eating, and spores of Bt begin germinating throughout the insects entire body. Different Bt strains kill certain types of insects, each Bt strain can only attach to specific types of receptors in the gut.
How Does Bt Work?
Effects on the environment are largely considered mild. It is a soil bacterium and thrives at body temperature. When exposed to higher temperatures such as sunlight (UV light), however, its half-life greatly decreases to around 3.8 hours. As soon as it is exposed to a warmer-than-normal medium, B. thuringiensis’ spores start deteriorating and lose viability within four days. Normally, a short half-life is bad. But in Bt’s case, it is actually good in that the short half-life minimizes insect resistance. Additionally, when field tests were performed on a sample of transgenic corn, researchers discovered better protection from root damage by Western corn rootworm than by chemical pesticides.
Bacillus thuringiensis Wiki
Bacillus thuringiensis Goes Transgenic
Bt seems to have a bright future until the 1990s, when bugs around the world began to evolve, growing extremely resistant to pesticides. The European corn borer, the bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and arthropods of all sorts were becoming worse pests than they ever had been before. Alike the story of any sci-fi novel, the solution to this devastating problem had come from a very interesting source, but this story is reality.