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GM Insecticide Found in Streams

GM Insecticide Found in Streams

The jury may still be out as to how the consumption of genetically modified (GM) foods can impact human health, but another piece of the puzzle is becoming increasingly clear: GM crops are not very obedient! Rogue GM plants have been found in the wild, and a new study finds insecticides from GM crops present in streams across the U.S. Midwest.

University of Notre Dame ecologist Jennifer Tank and colleagues have found that streams throughout the Midwest have been polluted by transgenic materials from corn crop byproducts, even six months after harvest.

Transgenic corn is genetically engineered to create its own insecticide to deter crop pests. The researchers show that transgenic materials from corn enter streams in the agricultural Midwest and can be then transported downstream to other bodies of water. In the new study, Tank and colleagues looked into the fate and persistence of  insecticidal proteins by surveying  217 stream sites in northwestern Indiana six months after crop harvest.

What they found was that corn crop byproducts were common in agricultural streams and that 86 percent of sites contained corn leaves, cobs, husks and/or stalks in the active stream channel. Using sensitive laboratory testing to measure the amounts of actual insecticidal proteins from the GM corn, they found the residues dissolved in stream water samples at 23 percent of the sites–and this is six months after the crop harvest.

Tank points out that a majority of streams in the Midwestern corn belt are located in close proximity of corn fields. Furthermore,  the research found that consumption of GM corn byproducts reduced growth and increased mortality of  stream insects. Stream insects are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators, and widespread planting of these GM crops has unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences.

How to Avoid GM Crops
Are You Eating Genetically Modified Foods?

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, News & Issues, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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11:50AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013


7:12AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Thanks for the info.

10:56PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

omg this is bad news, thank you for info.

9:18PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

Monsanto and cabal want us all to die...

4:19PM PST on Feb 22, 2012

"Transgenic corn is genetically engineered to create its own insecticide to deter crop pests"

Are we EATING this?

5:43PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:43PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:21AM PST on Nov 27, 2010

GM residues in our water, man made hormones in our water, fluoride in our water, agricultural chemicals, when are we going to learn that water is just supposed to be used only as H2O?

2:39AM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

I noted with interest that GM residuals are now found in waterstreams.
I presume this water after purification, is drunk by people.
This article does not really give us much fact as to what happens if we drink this GM contaminated water.
Is it bad for our health?

2:56PM PDT on Oct 7, 2010


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