One of the many reasons we (and so many others) speak out against genetically modified organisms and foods is because their impact is understudied and largely unknown. With each piece of research, however, we learn more and more about how genetically modified foods are having a negative impact on our health and our ecosystem, both directly and indirectly. One example revolves around researchers in Argentina recently setting out to study the effects of RoundUp’s main toxic ingredient, glyphosate, on the prevalence of cancer-causing fungal strains. They found that RoundUp supports the growth of cancer-causing fungi.
Researchers with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the National University of Rio Cuarto studied the effects of glyphosate on the growth of something known as aflatoxin B1. Aflatoxin B1 is said to be “one of the most carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances in existence” and is produced by two species of fungi, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies aflatoxin B1 as a Group 1 carcinogen, with a 5 mg/kg dose killing 50% of rat test groups (LD50). This is compared with a 6.4 mg/kg LD50 of potassium cyanide, the poison used in lethal injections.
The study found that glyphosate enhanced the growth of aflatoxin B1 fungal producers.
“This study has shown that the eight Aspergillus ﬂavus and A. parasiticus strains evaluated are able to grow effectively and produce AFs [aflatoxins] in natural medium with high nutrient status over a range of glyphosate concentrations under different aW [water activity] conditions.”
Prior similar studies from the USDA had conflicting results, insisting that glyphosate didn’t increase Aspergillus flavus growth.
But the Argentinian researchers left no question:
“This situation suggests that quantitative changes could occur in these fungi population in the soil exposed to longtime action of this xenobiotic. The survival of these microorganisms, capable to adapt to different glyphosate concentration represents a toxicological risk…”
Argentina has an interest in the effects of GM corn on health and the environment as the crop makes up a significant percentage of their farmland. As a matter of fact, the number of acres dedicated to growing GM corn in Argentina is second only to the U.S.
The research was published in the Journal of Environmental Scientific Health and offers greater fuel to the fight against Monsanto’s takeover of the food industry.