Glyphosate was discovered by John E. Franz, an organic chemist who synthesized the herbicide while working at Monsanto’s Company in 1970. This chemical became, and now remains, the active ingredient in Roundup, a broad-spectrum herbicide used and sold by Monsanto. Today, it is still used extensively in agriculture, and by millions of homeowners to control weeds in their landscapes.
Roundup is applied directly to the leaves of weeds, and works systemically. This means that once it is absorbed by the leaf, it spreads throughout the entire plant system. It kills the plant by interfering with the “shikimate pathway”. This seven step pathway is a metabolic route which is vital to the lifecycle of bacteria, fungi, algae, and every living plant. When disrupted, the biosynthesis of necessary folates and aromatic acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan are halted. As production of these proteins fail, plant death is inevitable.
Initially, Roundup effectively controlled weed growth, however, contact with the crop plant was detrimental. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum killer, which means it cannot distinguish between crop plants and unwanted weed species. In 1996, Monsanto set out to remedy this problem, by introducing Roundup Ready soybean. This was the first genetically engineered crop that was developed by Monsanto. It was created by introducing a bacterial gene resistant to glyphosate into the DNA of the soybean. This gene was derived from a type of bacteria called Agrobacteria, and now allowed farmers to spray Roundup not only the weeds, but the entire crop without damage.
In consequent years, a variety of other Roundup Ready crops were developed, including cotton, corn, sugarbeets and other crops. Roundup was effective until all susceptible weeds were killed, however, soon resistant weeds began to dominate farmlands. These “superweeds” did not respond to the same dosages that killed their susceptible predecessors, therefore, growers simply increased application rates, to eradicate these superweeds.
The US Department of Agriculture has estimated that Roundup Ready crops have resulted in an additional application of 383 million pounds of herbicides. This increase in the use of glyphosate greatly increases the likelihood of the chemical running off into nearby ecosystems. At these elevated concentrations, glyphosate potentially causes environmental damage, as well as damage to human health.
Monsanto claims that glyphosates are not toxic to humans because human cells do not function by the shikimate pathway. This is true, however, the bacteria in our gut do use this pathway! This means that the glyphosphate residue that we ingest kills the beneficial bacteria in our digestive systems. Pathogenic bacteria are not affected, and as a result they dominate the gut, deplete micronutrients and produce ammonia and formadelhyde by-products, that toxify the system causing inflammation.
In addition, the absence of the production of folates and aromatic compounds cause cell shrinkage, resulting in the leakage of these produced toxins into the blood stream. This results in the development of many diseases including encephalitis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, cancer and autism to name a few.
The damages and affects of humans ingesting glyphosate (Roundup) require further investigation. At present, there are no regulations that require the labeling of products that contain glyphosate or the incorporation of GMO’s. We are the ONLY country that does not require this! Therefore, many people continue to suffer unknowingly, completely unaware of the havoc this herbicide is causing within their bodies.