By Thomas Henry for Natural News
Biotech proponents are fond of proclaiming how little difference there is between typical crops and their genetically engineered varieties – but fresh findings show that not everything is created equal after all.
Researchers from the GenOk Centre for Biosafety in Norway outright rejected the widespread claim that GM soybeans are “substantially equivalent” to non-genetically engineered soy crops after comparing the nutritional make-up and contamination levels of genetically modified, conventional and organic varieties of soy.
The scientists’ new paper, published in Food Chemistry and titled “Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans” (available online ahead of print), reveals startling research that examines the significant differences that could be posed by eating genetically engineered foods, despite the fact that they look identical to non-GM versions. GM soybeans account for an unsettling 93% of U.S. and 75% of global soybean crop production.
Shockingly, analysis found that GM soybeans engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate were actually accumulating high levels of residues from glyphosate and AMPA – a degradation product of glyphosate – taken up by the plants during the growing season. Glyphosate is absorbed throughout the plant, including in both the leaves and beans. Both toxins have been found to be bioavailable when taken orally and were found in the final “market ready” food product in every sample tested.
AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid), metabolized from Monsanto’s Roundup Ready glyphosate herbicide, mimics the glutamate neurotransmitter in the body, putting it in a class of substances with potentially excitotoxic effects on neuron receptors in the brain and nervous system. Readers familiar with the adverse effects of aspartame and MSG will recognize the documented dangers for excitoxicity to overstimulate neurons and induce cell death.
GM soybeans contained an average of 3.3 mg/kg of glyphosate residue and 5.7 mg/kg of AMPA residue. In 7 of 10 samples, these residues were found well in excess of the levels proclaimed by Monsanto itself to be “extreme” and beyond typical use. However, the rise of herbicide-resistant superweeds has accompanied the increased use of glyphosate through repeated applications, in turn exposing the Roundup Ready soybean samples – taken from real world farms – to higher levels as well.
Not only do these residues in GM soybeans add concerning levels of toxins to the end product eaten by consumers, but they may well also alter plant metabolism during growth, in turn potentially affecting nutrition.
With this hypothesis, researchers tested samples and indeed found significant differences in the nutritional value compared to traditional forms of soy.
Prior to this study, research concerning the application of glyphosate and its effects on GM soybean nutrition has been scant, despite the ubiquitous and widespread use of the herbicide on one of the world’s biggest crops – used to feed both people and livestock. Nevertheless, it has been previously shown that glyphosate can lower nutrient absorption from the soil, as well as reduce the vital photosynthesis processes.
Agricultural cultivation practices – particularly concerning the use of pesticides – was found to play a major role in the ultimate nutritional content. Both the Roundup Ready GM soy and the conventional soy, taken from actual farm yields, were subjected to pesticides, yet the study found no traces of the glyphosate or its breakdown product, AMPA, inside the conventional soy. According to the authors, this is likely due to the repeated dousing of glyphosate on GM crops throughout the growing season, as opposed to the use of pre-planting pesticide applications used in conventional soy.
Organic soybeans were found to be the healthiest among the tested varieties of soy. They were not only free from pesticide residues but contained “significantly more” protein, zinc and sugars than any other type of soy while containing less saturated fat and omega-6 fatty acids, despite lower fiber levels.
The GenOk Centre, which specializes in studying the environmental, health and social impacts of genetic engineering, compared 35 different nutritional factors across 31 batches of soybeans grown in Iowa, conclusively establishing “substantial non-equivalence” between GM, conventional and organic “without exception.”
Instead, as common sense might dictate over industry rhetoric, the differences in how the soy was cultivated – and how much/what kind of pesticides were used – changed the resulting end product, often substantially, despite the similar appearances.
The study’s authors pointed out that prior research into GM crops has typically failed to test for nutritional differences when claiming similarity and “substantial equivalence” to non-GM varieties. They concluded that pesticide residue levels should be regularly tested in the interest of public health.