Not Just For Corn and Soy: A Look at Glyphosate Use in Food Crops
By Carey Gillam
By Carey Gillam
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is recognized as the world’s most widely used weed killer. What is not so well known is that farmers also use glyphosate on crops such as wheat, oats, edible beans and other crops right before harvest, raising concerns that the herbici…
Scientists estimated the degradation time for glyphosate, an herbicide in “Roundup”, in the Great Barrrier Reef. This is the first study of the persistence of glyphosate in seawater.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely applied herbicides globally but its persistence in seawater has not been reported. Here we quantify the biodegradation of glyphosate using standard “simulation” flask tests with native bacterial populations and coastal seawater from the Great Barrier Reef. The half-life for glyphosate at 25 °C in low-light was 47 days, extending to 267 days in the dark at 25 °C and 315 days in the dark at 31 °C, which is the longest persistence reported for this herbicide. AMPA, the microbial transformation product of glyphosate, was detected under all conditions, confirming that degradation was mediated by the native microbial community. This study demonstrates glyphosate is moderately persistent in the marine water under low light conditions and is highly persistent in the dark. Little degradation would be expected during flood plumes in the tropics, which could potentially deliver dissolved and sediment-bound glyphosate far from shore.
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The weedkiller Roundup causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at very low doses permitted by regulators worldwide, a new peer-reviewed study shows. The study is the first ever to show a causative link between consumption of Roundup at a real-world environmentally relevant dose and a serious disease.
Glyphosate (tradenames include Roundup©, Touchdown©, Rodeo©, and others) is an organic solid of odorless white crystals. It is a non-selective herbicide used on many food and non-food crops as well as non-crop areas such as roadsides. When applied at lower rates, it serves as a plant growth regulator. The most common uses include control of broadleaf weeds and grasses in: hay/pasture, soybeans, field corn; ornamentals, lawns, turf, forest plantings, greenhouses, rights-of-way. Glyphosate is currently the world’s best selling herbicide, used in more than 90 countries and on more than 150 crops. Glyphosate use in agriculture has tripled since 1997, largely due to the increasing popularity of Roundup Ready® crops† (including corn and soybeans), which have been genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 700 micrograms per liter for glyphosate.
Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently investigated 51 streams in nine Midwestern States to determine the presence of a wide range of herbicides, their degradation byproducts and antibiotics. Herbicides were detected in most water samples, which were collected to coincide with runoff events following herbicide application, but antibiotics were detected in only 1 percent of the samples.