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Insecticide from GE corn crops found in streams


September 29, 2010

The insecticidal protein Cry1Ab has been shown to leach from corn debris into adjacent str...

The insecticidal protein Cry1Ab has been shown to leach from corn debris into adjacent streams (Photo: Pam Brophy)

A new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water.

Notre Dame ecologist Jennifer Tank and colleagues conducted a field survey of 217 stream sites in northwestern Indiana, six months after the corn harvest. 86 percent of those sites contained corn crop debris, and Cry1Ab was detected in the debris at 13 percent of those sites. That said, Cry1Ab that had presumably leached out of corn debris was detected in the water itself at 23 percent of the original 217 sites. The concentrations were not provided.

"Our study demonstrates the persistence and dispersal of crop byproducts and associated transgenic material in streams throughout a corn belt landscape even long after crop harvest," Tank stated.

The study also concluded that 91 percent of the 200,000 km (124,274 miles) of streams and rivers in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois are located within 500 meters (547 yards) of corn fields. Cry1Ab, a byproduct of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, does already occur naturally in the environment – expansive crops of corn that produce it, needless to say, do not.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth

what of it.i just ate a corn on the cob and feel fine and AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH!

Cowfy Kaufman
30th September, 2010 @ 11:03 am PDT

...and how much sprayed commercial herbicides and pesticides make it into the water table. Probably about the same amount or more...

Without concentration values, it's just scare tactics by the anti-genetics pseudo-scientists.

We have nearly 7 billion people on this planet, and farm-land is being reduced every year. It's quite heroic to research how to best feed these hungry children, and not the insects of the planet.

Matt Rings
30th September, 2010 @ 04:46 pm PDT

It does go and prove what has already been known for a while that run off from chems used in farming are leached into the ground water where it can be found month's after they were used. It should be not just alarming but extremely alarming as these chemicals not only harm us, but create all sorts of problems down the river systems. It is a major issue for the endangered coral reefs that are being destroyed at a rapid rate.

1st October, 2010 @ 09:25 pm PDT

The beginning of the end.........

Richard Thuillier
5th October, 2010 @ 03:46 pm PDT
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