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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Microbiome' Category


19
Dec

Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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15
Nov

Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Behavioral and Gut Health Concerns in New Studies

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2023) A study previously published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is drawing renewed attention to the gut microbiome in the scientific community. The study, involving a team including Demetrio Sierra-Mercado, PhD, of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, initially established a link between glyphosate exposure and increased anxiety and fear-related behavior in rats. Glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide, has been detected in trace amounts in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other food and beverages, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Originally deemed safe for humans due to the way it interacts with the shikimic acid pathway—a metabolic route that is absent in humans—glyphosate’s indirect effects on human health are now under scrutiny as the research linking it to anxiety-like behavior grows.  Dr. Sierra-Mercado’s team is expanding on his previous research to take a closer look at the compound’s potential disruption of the gut microbiome, which plays a pivotal role in regulating both physical and mental health. His upcoming study, anticipated in August 2024, aims to delve into the intricate relationship between glyphosate exposure and the gut-brain axis, with a focus on how this may influence neurological and emotional health […]

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14
Jul

Soil Amended with Insect Exoskeleton Is Effective Alternative to Harmful Chemical Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) The exoskeleton of the black soldier fly (BSF; Hermetica illucens) has the potential to be an effective organic fertilizer. A study in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment highlights the positive impacts on plant size, flower count, seed production, appeal to pollinators, and resilience to herbivory that the fly’s molted exoskeleton (or exuviae) can have when used as a soil supplement. The use of insect exuviae as an organic alternative to harmful synthetic fertilizers is an important step toward an environment free from chemical contaminants, and BSF are uniquely equipped to contribute to a regenerative organic agricultural system. The study set out to determine the impacts of BSF exuviae on plant growth, resilience to herbivory, and pollination. The scientists divided black mustard plants into four different treatment groups: 1) grown in soil amended with BSF powdered exuviae; 2) control group planted in chemically-treated (conventional) soil; 3) grown in amended soil and subjected to increased herbivory from caterpillars (Pieris brassicae) and aphids (Brevicoryne brassicae); and 4) planted in conventional soil and subjected to increased pest exposure. Scientists measured plant growth, flowering status, seed production, herbivore abundance, and pollinator activity. After three weeks, the supplemented soil grew […]

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27
Jun

Study Elevates the Connection Between Pesticides, the Gut-Brain Axis, and Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2023) Pesticides interfere with biological processes. This is their purpose. Unfortunately, they nearly always have unintended consequences, many of which have been ignored by their manufacturers. A new review article by Irish and Dutch researchers in the ISME Journal adds to the emerging scientific literature examining how pesticides affect the relationship between the human gut and the human brain (the “gut-brain axis”). Often called the “second brain” because it houses nerve cells and produces neurotransmitters, the gut-brain axis may be the most important locus where microbes and pesticides meet. The human gut plays host to a variety of microorganisms, ranging from bacteria and archaea to fungi, viruses and yeasts.[1] In a healthy person these microbes remain in balance and often cooperate both with each other and with human cells. The gut and the brain are deeply integrated through the vagus nerve and the neuroendocrine system. The vagus nerve is a treelike bundle of fibers extending from the lower part of the brain to nearly every body organ, but particularly the heart, lungs and digestive tract. The neuroendocrine system comprises specialized cells inhabiting nearly all the organs of the body that respond to signals from the brain […]

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21
Mar

Chemical-Driven Agriculture Damages Microbial Health of Bee Colonies

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2023) Placing honey bee hives in agricultural areas creates stress that leads to microbial imbalances, according to research published in Scientific Reports by Croatian scientists this month. The research highlights the fragility and absurdity of chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon both pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. While regulators in the United States continue to prop up unsustainable practices, more and more consumers are seeking out and engaging with the key alternative to this system by supporting organic farms and foodstuffs at their farmers market and grocery store. Scientists began by creating 33 colonies from three apiaries within an agricultural region in Croatia, utilizing four brood frames, two honey frames, and mated queens. Of these 33 newly created hives, 22 were relocated to a separate agricultural region, and 11 were placed roughly six miles away from a nature preserve and considered a semi-natural area. A separate group of 10 hives that had been established on a small island (Unije, Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea were included in the study in order to represent a completely natural location. After roughly two weeks of colony formation, scientists collected samples to represent the multiple […]

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02
Mar

Pesticide Exposure and the Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) Populations experiencing higher levels of environmental pollutant exposure, specifically pesticides, also experience a higher rate of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel behaviors. IBS affects 25 to 45 million individuals in the U.S., mostly female (two-thirds). Additionally, a quarter to half of all gastrointestinal-related visits are for IBS symptoms. Despite the unknown etiology of IBS, ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, like pesticides, negatively affect the gut microbiota, causing a microorganism imbalance and resulting in inflammation associated with IBS. The gut, also known as the “second brain,” shares similar structural and chemical parallels to the brain. The microbiota in the gut plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and the subsequent occurrence of diseases. The study notes, “These findings may help to understand the relationship between pesticide exposure and IBS; however, more epidemiological and experimental research is needed to understand […]

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26
Jan

Common Fungicide Adds to Growing List of Pesticides Linked to Gastrointestinal and Microbiome Damage

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2023) A study published in Food Safety and Toxicology finds that the widely used fungicide azoxystrobin (AZO), used in food production and turf management, can disrupt the function of the intestinal (colonic) barrier responsible for the absorption of nutrients and defense against harmful substances. This and other similar data are important because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with its required pesticide testing protocol, says that the chemical has “low acute and chronic toxicity to humans, birds, mammals, and bees,” and speaks to the need for the agency to modernize its registration requirements. [The agency does note that AZO is “is highly toxic to freshwater fish, freshwater invertebrates, and estuarine/marine fish, and very highly toxic to estuarine/marine invertebrates.] AZO is a broad-spectrum chemical used in wheat, barley, oats, rye, soya, cotton, rice, strawberry, peas, beans, onions, and a long list of other vegetables, as well as on lawns and golf courses, on a range of fungal diseases. The intestinal (colonic) barrier prevents the internal environment from damage caused by exogenous toxins to ensure internal homeostasis, impeding incidences of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), sepsis, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). The intestines host a group of microorganisms that form […]

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22
Nov

Fungi that Survive Fungicide Use Multiply and Thrive

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2022) Fungus that survive a fungicide application may be able to multiply and thrive, putting plant yields at risk. This finding comes from research recently published by scientists at University of Illinois, focusing on the impact of fungicide use on soybean yields and the disease Septoria brown spot, caused by the fungus Septoria glycines. The research underlines the danger of preventive chemical applications in an attempt to protect yield and shows how precarious pesticide use can be when subject to the complexity seen in field conditions. Scientists began with the intent of analyzing the soybean’s phyllosphere mycobiome, the fungal microbial make-up of the outside of the plant, including all its surfaces above-ground. A field trial was established near Urbana, Illinois, and soybeans plants were separated into four different plots according to their treatment. One group was inoculated with Septoria glycines, another inoculated and sprayed with a fungicide, a third not inoculated yet sprayed with a fungicide, and a final control group neither inoculated nor treated with a fungicide. A range of different analyses were conducted to view changes in the disease development and mycobiome composition over time. Soybean plants that had been inoculated with Septoria showed […]

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01
Nov

Pesticide Mixtures Reduce Life Span of Honey Bees, Damage Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2022) Honey bees exposed to a combination of multiple pesticides suffer a reduced lifespan and experience adverse changes to their gut microbiome, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and disease. This finding comes from a study published recently in Science of the Total Environment, which examines the interactions between the insecticides flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor and the fungicide azoxystrobin on honey bee health. Both insecticides studied are considered substitutes for notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, which move through the vascular system of the plant and contaminates its pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. As declines in pollinator and insect life continue throughout the world, it is critical not only to understand and restrict widely used chemicals like neonicotinoids, but also the regrettable and deleterious substitutions the agrichemical industry has developed to replace them. As the present study reveals, pesticide risk assessments do not inadequately capture the range of harm that can result when pesticides are combined, necessitating a shift toward safer, alternative, and regenerative organic farming systems that do not use these dangerous chemicals. To better understand the impacts of combined pesticide exposure on honey bees, researchers employed three colonies located in Germany’s Martin Luther University that were inspected and free […]

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25
Aug

Antibiotics and Neonicotinoid Insecticides Linked to Gut Microbiome Disruption and Childhood Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2022) A study published in World Journal of Pediatrics finds an association between antibiotic and neonicotinoid (neonic) exposure and onset of pediatric (childhood) type 1 diabetes (T1D) through effects on the gut microbiome. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk of other autoimmune disorders, including thyroid and celiac disease. Ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants like pesticides and antibiotics negatively affect human mouth and gut microbes. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Moreover, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic/immune disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and subsequent occurrence of diseases. In children, gut microbiome disruption, or gut dysbiosis, has significant associations with type 1 diabetes development, and disruption of gut microbiota plays a role in type 2 diabetes development. Over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. have diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. With increasing rates of type 1 and […]

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26
May

Neurotoxic Pesticides Disrupt Gut Function Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2022) A study published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology finds environmental exposure to neurotoxic pesticides increases Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risk through gastrointestinal (GI) disruption. Research finds exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests environmental pesticide exposure disrupts GI cells responsible for supporting the autonomic nervous system. Enteric glial cells (EGCs) are GI cells that play a critical role in the functional changes that accompany GI dysfunction, as this dysfunction is one of the earliest symptoms indicating the onset of PD. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses each year. The disease affects 50% more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Identifying early biomarkers of PD, such as pesticide-mediated toxicity on GI cells, is crucially important as symptoms intensify overtime, with no current cure for this fatal disease. While only […]

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12
May

Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022) A report published in Environmental Health finds that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides can alter gut microbial communities, as demonstrated through fecal samples. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples. Ample evidence demonstrates that environmental contaminants, including pesticides, negatively affect the human mouth and gut microbes. However, fecal samples provide an accurate representation of the microbial community existing in the gut. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, which adversely affects health outcomes. Adverse health effects of environmental contaminants include reproductive and developmental defects, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and improper immune operation. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through microbiome changes. The report notes, “Our results highlight the need for future dietary intervention studies to understand effects of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome and possible health consequences.” Researchers examined dietary exposure to 186 common pesticide residues in the fecal excrement to determine impacts on the microbiome among 65 twins in the United Kingdom. […]

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05
May

First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, “Using […]

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16
Feb

Review Provides New Insight into How Pesticide Exposure Disrupts Bee Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2022) Pesticide exposure disturbs the gut microbiome of social bees, leading to a range of alterations that could affect fitness in the wild, finds a major literature review recently published by researchers at the University of Ottawa, Canada. With research on bee gut microbiomes is still in its infancy, the review provides a centralized overview of data collected to date, and highlights areas for further research to fill in remaining knowledge gaps. “Social bees have gut microbiotas that contribute to their health, just like we (humans) do,” said Michelle Hotchkiss, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science at the University of Ottawa. “Further research on the interactions between pesticides, bee gut microbiotas, and bee hosts will help us better understand how pesticides affect bee health and performance.” To conduct their review, scientists collected research relating to bee gut over the last 50 years. “The earliest studies we found were published in the 1970s and the most recent ones in 2020,” said Dr. Hotchkiss. “We summarized what methods were used to collect data, including which bee hosts and pesticides were examined. To summarize how the abundances of core microbes changed after pesticide exposure, we looked at […]

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25
Jan

Common Antimicrobial Pesticides Linked to Altered Gut Microbe Function

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2022) Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill identifies how triclosan (TCS), an antimicrobial agent used in many household products, impacts the microbial communities in the gut, causing inflammation. According to the study published in Nature Communications, triclosan worsens the effects of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), through the retention of harmful bacteria. Ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, including pesticides like triclosan, negatively affect microbes in the human mouth and gut. Although studies show how triclosan exposure affects human health, more research is now questioning how exposure to these toxic chemical influences gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminant deregulates normal bodily function through microbiome changes. Furthermore, the study has significant implications for considerations that should be, but are not currently, a part of pesticide review and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The researchers note, “Together, our results define a mechanism by which intestinal microbes contribute to the metabolic activation and gut toxicity of TCS, and highlight the importance of considering the contributions of the gut microbiota in evaluating the toxic potential of environmental chemicals.” Instances of intestinal bowel disease (IBD)—involving the chronic inflammation […]

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28
Oct

Glyphosate Kills Microorganisms Beneficial to Plants, Animals, and Humans

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2021) A study published in Frontiers in Environmental Science finds the popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) Roundup®. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in both food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates glyphosate with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004. The authors caution, “[O]utbreaks of several animal and plant diseases have been related to glyphosate accumulation in the environment. Long-term glyphosate effects have been underreported, and new standards will be needed for residues in plant and animal products and the environment.” With an increasing number of reports on the relationship between glyphosate and human health, including potential effects on the human gut microbiome, advocates are calling on global leaders to eliminate chemical […]

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29
Sep

Conventional Agriculture Decreases Diversity of Gut Bacteria in Foraging Bats

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2021) Bats foraging in chemical-intensive banana plantations have much less gut diversity than bats foraging in organic banana fields and natural forestland, finds research published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Although there is increasing recognition that a diet of conventional, chemically grown food leads to adverse disruptions of the gut microbiome (also known as dysbiosis), little research has been conducted on the effect of production practices on the gut of wild foraging species. According to the present study there are significant differences that regulators must begin to account for in pesticide risk assessments, and consumers should consider when making choices at the supermarket. Researchers focused their investigation on Pallas’s long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina), a nectar feeding bat native to Central and South America. The bat is highly adapted to human environments, sustaining populations in both conventional and organic banana plantations, as well as surrounding forest land. For the study, researchers trapped nearly 200 bats across the country of Costa Rica over a 22-month time span. After trapping, physiological characteristics, like size and body weight, were measured, and bat guano was analyzed for its microbial population. All sampled bats were released back […]

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30
Apr

Research Shows Adverse Impacts of Glyphosate on the Human Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2021) A bioinformatics tool developed by researchers from the University of Turku in Finland indicates that “54% of species in the core human gut microbiome are sensitive to glyphosate.” This tool may help predict which microbes in the human gut could be negatively affected by exposure to the ubiquitous herbicide. Because damage to the gut biome is linked to a variety of diseases, this information could prove critical in recognition of the role(s) glyphosate may play in the development of human diseases. Published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the researchers’ paper states, “The widespread use of glyphosate may have a strong effect on gut microbiomes as well as on human health.” Beyond Pesticides has long reported on the relationship between glyphosate and human health, including potential effects on the human gut microbiome. Used in multiple herbicide formulations, glyphosate has become widely known as the active ingredient in Bayer/Monsanto’s Roundup®, the most-used herbicide worldwide. The pervasiveness of glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) use in agriculture, and of Roundup in particular, is due largely to their pairing with genetically engineered (GE) seeds for soy, canola, and corn crops. In many regions, these GE seeds — engineered to resist the glyphosate […]

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29
Apr

Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Sustainable Agriculture Do Not Mix!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2021) Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are incompatible with sustainable agriculture goals, according to a recent scientific literature analysis by scientists at Tufts University, Massachusetts. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupTM. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is the main contributor to human, biotic, and ecosystem harms as toxicities from herbicides are now double what it was in 2004.  The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, pesticides like glyphosate are ubiquitous in the environment, putting the health, economy, and food/resources for future generations at risk. Therefore, research like this is vital for understanding how chemical use can undermine sustainable agriculture goals to protect humans, animals, and environmental health. Researchers note, “[W]hether or not GBHs are viewed as essential or unessential to contemporary agriculture, and notwithstanding their role in non-tillage agriculture, this study shows that glyphosate-based herbicides do not reach the bar of agricultural sustainability, with respect to humans and the environment, making the system they are part of unsustainable.” Researchers thoroughly examined […]

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30
Jun

Implications for Human Health: Pesticides and Other Environmental Contaminants Alter Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2020) A review of scientific literature on the toxic effect of environmental contaminants—including pesticides—published in the journal Toxicological Science, “The Impact of Environmental Chemicals on the Gut Microbiome,” associates these chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and other adverse health implications. The review, by researchers at the University of Illinois, looks at how environmental contaminants adversely effects and reinforce chemical disruption of the gut microbiome. It highlights the importance of evaluating how environmental contaminants, like pesticides, impact body regulation by gut microbiota. The study has significant implications for considerations that should be, but are not currently, a part of pesticide review and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune, and central nervous system regulation, as wells as other bodily functions. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate, the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Karen Chiu, Ph.D., a graduate research fellow at the […]

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08
Nov

Study Confirms Chemical-Intensive Production Contaminates Organic with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2018) Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills’ Cheerios and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats products sampled. Health advocates are expressing concern about the consequences of chronic glyphosate exposure, and say U.S. federal agencies must limit the herbicide’s use on oat-based breakfast foods regularly marketed to children. In addition, organic itself is under threat, as chemical-intensive management practices undermine the future of the growing organic movement. In this second round of testing, EWG scientists purchased products around San Francisco and Washington DC. 28 samples of conventional and 16 samples of organic oat products were collected. Approximately 300 grams of each General Mills and PepsiCo product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Detected glyphosate residues were compared to EWG’s own health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). This benchmark is based on risks of lifetime exposure and what EWG scientists consider allowable and protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.  EWG’s results detected glyphosate residues in all 28 samples of conventionally grown oat products. The vast majority (all but two) […]

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01
Nov

Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability. Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, measuring real-world harms of neonicotinoids, indicate that the impacts they found to bumblebee “reproducers,” namely queen and drone (male) bees, does not bode well for the array of plant species that relies on them. Though advocates warn that destabilizing managed pollinators could threaten U.S. food production and exports, with food prices increasing as cost of bringing pollinators to farms increases, the study’s authors and advocates insist that the impacts of such widespread poisoning of wild bees could be felt well beyond agriculture. Researchers in the lab compare behavioral and psychological responses of virgin queens, workers, and male Bombus impatiens from multiple colonies to field-realistic doses of the neonicotinoid clothianidin. While every bee was given a replenishing supply of pollen based on body weight and energy demands, four distinct concentrations of diluted analytical-grade (pure) clothianidin (including a control with no pesticide added) were mixed into a nectar-like solution and fed to the bumblebees orally for 5 […]

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09
May

Researchers Delve into Role of Gut Bacteria in Insect Resistance to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2018) An insect’s gut microbiome plays an important role in conferring pesticide resistance, according to a new review published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. “Whether you’re looking at agricultural pests, household pests like cockroaches, or medical pests like disease-carrying mosquitoes, insects are great at adapting to whatever we throw at them, especially when it comes to different chemicals,” said lead author Jose Pietri, Ph.D to Entomology Today. The review adds to the numerous ways pests can evade the effects of chemical agriculture, reinforcing calls from recent studies showing that the best method of addressing this issue is to simply stop using synthetic pesticides and employ alternative pest management practices. The authors identify two overarching methods through which microbes help confer resistance to toxic pesticides. The first involves the pest accepting a physiological trade-off, where a pest is able to better withstand an insecticide at the cost of losing its ability to regulate certain gut bacterium. For instance, diamondback moths resistant to fipronil and chlorpyrifos are found to contain higher levels of Lactobacillales, Pseudomonadales, and Xanthomonadales bacteria than non-resistant moths. While this trade-off affects the fitness of the organism, alterations of the bacterial […]

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