The Soil’s Microbiome

Published 12/23/2013. Last updated 3/16/2014.

It’s hard to keep your immune system strong and yourself healthy if you’re consuming poor quality food.
Just as the human gut requires an array of microbes necessary to create good digestion and healthy interaction with the rest of the body, a plant’s root ball needs to absorb the proper microorganisms  from the soil to grow nutrient-rich plants. If the soil is poor quality, any plants grown in it will be lacking in nutritional value for any animal eating them – including humans.

Soil health affects everything along the food chain: the plants themselves, insects that feed on the plants, animals eating the insects – and food products made from the plants and the animals eating those feeds.  It’s called a food chain because it’s all connected – though not really in a chain.

GENE SWAPPING
Now here’s some utterly mind boggling information: DNA sequencing techniques have demonstrated that gene swapping occurs between the soil’s microbiome and our human gut microbiome – as well as between microorganisms from other places in our surroundings. There’s evidence that bacteria can freely and rapidly exchange genetic information with each other via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) – as easily as we can transfer digital data to someone else! A massive gene network has been found that facilitates the transfer of 10,000 unique genes among 2,235 bacterial genomes – even across international borders and across species. (Mercola, 12/23/2013)
Using horizontal gene transfer, bacteria from different lineages are able to acquire and share useful genetic information they didn’t inherit from their parents. This is apparently how superbugs (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) can proliferate so quickly.  (Brehm, 2011)
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
Genetically engineered crops pose a serious threat to the health of all living flora and fauna. A main characteristic of GE plants is that their genetic makeup has been altered to make them resistant to the powerful herbicide glyphosate, which is known to decimate soil bacteria. Fields can then be sprayed with Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, to kill weeds while sparing the crop plants. (Mercola, 12/23/2013)
Glycophosphate is patented as an antibiotic so it’s not surprising that it effectively kills good bacteria in the soil. It’s also a chelator that renders various minerals (eg, manganese, zinc and iron), necessary to the immune systems of the plant and the animals who eat it (including us), inaccessible and unusable.
Another problem with both GE and conventionally hybridized plants is that altering them can cause them to lose their ability to emit signals warning their neighbors of impending attacks, making them more vulnerable to insect infestations. (Mercola, 12/23/2013) Did you even know that healthy plants can and do communicate with each other!?

Genetically engineered crops include fruits, vegetables, and most sugar beets, corn, canola and soy beans produced in the US. It’s astounding to think of the number of foods and food products we consume on a daily basis that are made from GE crops. Here’s a partial list:
  • Non-organic fruits and vegetables and products made from them
  • Products made from flours made from GE plants
  • Meats and fish given feed made from GE crops
  • High fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil processed from GE crops
  • GE soy beans and products made from them, including soy flour and soy proteins  (eg, in most energy bars)
  • Cheese and cheese products made from the milk of animals fed GE crops and cultured with GE rennet (Wikipedia, 2013)

Commercial sale of genetically modified crops began in 1994 when Calgene introduced delayed ripening tomatoes into US markets.  Government and other scientists warned against the wisdom of allowing untested GM crops into our environment and food supply, but the warnings went unheeded and we’re suffering the consequences.
Decades of scientific research and observation by physicians have demonstrated the dangers of genetically modifying our food supplies. The very same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating these GE foods, their health improves.

 

This is a short video about a little girl’s project on organic versus non-organic potatoes. She asks the question, Which sweet potato would you rather eat? Definitely worth watching – with your children.

 

Polls routinely show that 90% of Americans support the labeling of foods that have been genetically modified. Yet California’s Proposition 37, which would have required GMO food labeling, was defeated on November 6 2012 by a last minute $45-$48 million advertising campaign by multi-national food and chemical corporations asking the state’s voters to vote ‘No’ on Prop 37.
Prop 37 read: “The purpose of this measure is to create and enforce the fundamental right of the people of California to be fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat is genetically engineered and not misbranded as natural so that they can choose for themselves whether to purchase and eat such foods. It shall be liberally construed to fulfill this purpose”
And the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet again caved to food industry pressure against GMO labeling by deciding to make it voluntary.

REFERENCES

Brehm, D. (2011). Bacteria may readily swap beneficial genes: Microbes have developed a quick and effective way to exchange genetic information coding for antibiotic resistance, other functions. MIT News. See http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/hgt-bacteria-1031.html

Mercola, R. (12/23/2013). 3 ‘Dirty’ Ways to Recharge Your Gut Health. See http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/23/soil-quality.aspx?e_cid=20131223Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20131223Z1&et_cid=DM37598&et_rid=376428895

Wikipedia. (2013). Genetically Modified Food. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_syrups

 

© Copyright 2013-2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

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