Super Beetle Destroying Entire Monsanto GM Bt-Corn Crops!

By Rady Anandafoodfreedom

Nature herself may be the best opponent of genetically modified crops and pesticides. Not only plants, but insects are also developing resistance. The Western rootworm beetle – one of the most serious threats to corn – has developed resistance to Monsanto’s Bt-corn, and entire crops are being lost.

Farmers from several Midwest states began reporting root damage to corn that was specifically engineered with a toxin to kill the rootworm. Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann recently confirmed that the beetle, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, has developed resistance to the Bt protein, Cry3Bb1.

Bacillus thuringiensis – Bt – is a bacterium that kills insects. Different proteins are engineered into cotton as well as corn plants.

Two-thirds of all US corn is genetically modified per the USDA, and the bulk of that is Bt-corn. Monsanto has the biggest market share in the US, reporting about 35% in 2009.

In response to the July 2011 study, Monsanto said only the “YieldGard ® VT Triple and Genuity ® VT Triple PROâ„¢ corn products” are affected.

“It appears he has demonstrated a difference in survival in the lab, but it is too early to tell whether there are implications for growers in the field.”

However, Kansas State researchers summarized the study, indicating that the specimens tested came from fields suffering severe rootworm damage and compared them to those from unaffected fields. In other words, it was a field study.

Resistance developed where the same Bt corn had been grown at least three years in a row. Gassmann found “a significant positive correlation between the number of years Cry3Bb1 maize had been grown in a field and the survival of rootworm populations on Cry3Bb1 maize in bioassays.”

Ag Professional’s Colleen Scherer explains that “the Cry3Bb1 toxin is the major one deployed against rootworms. There is no ‘putting the genie back in the bottle,’ and resistance in these areas is a problem that won’t go away.”

Monsanto urges farmers to try their “stacked” GM products where more than one trait is engineered and to employ integrated pest management (IPM) techniques.

Kind of like getting on a treadmill of ever increasing DNA manipulation and chemicals to maintain monocultures, instead of reverting to time-honored mixed farms that use companion plants (including weeds) for pest control. IPM does not have to include toxic chemicals or genetic manipulation for success. (See, e.g., Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture).

Last year, Monsanto launched a “triple-stack” sweet corn which it envisions being sold at Farmers Markets. The FDA’s GMO label ban will certainly help, since most people who buy local are specifically trying to avoid genetically engineered foods.

In line with Monsanto’s goal to enter farmers markets, the Union of Concerned Scientists just came out with a report urging federal financial support in order to create jobs. The report notes that the number of farmers markets has doubled in the past ten years.

But, as we watch the feds target natural producers with raids and product seizure, while leaving Cargill’s 36 million pounds of tainted turkey alone until someone died, we can expect that any federal money put toward farmers markets will be used to support only that produce which is genetically modified, chemically doused and/or irradiated.

Click here to follow Iowa State’s work on the rootworm, and see the following pieces for more reasons to avoid herbicides and biotech foods:

Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark? Earth Open Source, June 2011

Herbicide-tolerance and GM crops Greenpeace, June 2011

Per USDA, Herbicide Use Increases with GE Crops, Beyond Pesticides, June 2011

More problems with glyphosate: Rice growers sound alarm, Food Freedom, May 2011

Scientists warn of link between dangerous new pathogen and Monsanto’s Roundup, Food Freedom, Feb 2011

Monsanto’s superweeds come home to roost: 11 million US acres infested, Generation Green, Oct. 2010

GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? Superweeds and birth defects: A review of scientific evidence on genetically modified soy and the herbicide glyphosate, Sept. 2010

Three Approved GMOs Linked to Organ Damage, Food Freedom, Jan. 2010

Rady Ananda specializes in Natural Resources and runs the sites, Food Freedom and COTO Report.

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  • Joe Geneticist

    Just thought I would add something that was not really discussed in this article. It is absolutely no surprise that when we use the same chemical to deter a pest, the populations of that pest where the chemical has been applied gradually contain higher percentages of resistant individuals (just wiki search ‘texas male sterile T-cytoplasm for a historical example, or probably any herbicide or pesticide for that matter…). In the case of BT-corn, the chemical is the protein itself that is encoded by the Cry3Bb1 gene or one of its many variants. Therefore, it is no surprise that pests would gradually gain a resistance to that protein. There are two points that I would like readers to gain from my comment. 1. There are many variants of these BT proteins in bacteria, and it is quite possible that a different BT protein could be effective against some of these populations that have gained resistance to the Cry3Bb1 protein that was referenced in the article… and 2. It is not the BT protein itself that is causing a problem, or genetic modification… the problem is repeated applications of the SAME chemicals on the SAME plants. IPM (integrated pest management) provides sustainable alternatives to these practices by using many different techniques to control pests and other problems, and I am an advocate of this philosophy. However, genetic modification of plants has been occurring since the first human saved seeds of their favorite plant rather than randomly selecting seeds from the range of good and bad plants, and now we have highly advanced techniques to acquire our ‘favorite’ plants. The use of Agrobacterium mediated transformation and other techniques are highly valuable tools for crop improvement. In reference to an American colloquialism, the technique itself could be considered the “player ,“ while Monsanto’s questionable business practices could be considered the “game”. So just remember, don’t hate the player, hate the game….

    • Earthwormlover

      Ok Joe Geneticist- You and Monsanto enjoy your cancer and birth defects while those of us with rational thought are reaping the healthy benefits of gods intended natural processes of growing “real” foods.

      • Jim

        Joe Geneticist: Don’t hate the player hate the game? The game isn’t much of anything without players. So yes hate the players. What a silly remark. Do ‘game rules on paper alone’ do the damage? no.. it takes a ‘player’ to act on things. Actions mean more than rules.

        That statement is purely deflection. Take some responsibility. If I slept with your wife and said ‘hey all is fair in love and war, don’t hate me man… hate the game!’ I doubt you’d be defending that remark.

  • American’s are increasingly “going” organic. But the process of living organic isn’t made easy by the system in place. In fact, much of the food labeled organic still contains non-organic by products. The majority of the plastics are made with GE crops, specifically corn.

    • Susie S

      There is a difference between selective breeding and genetic modification. And we can hate the players and the game. What Monsanto does is madness. Their business practices will cause a major problem in our food supply and our animals’ food supply. We will have to import most of our “safe” foods from other countries. It will ultimately wipe out our food independence. This company and others like it should be put out of business permenantly!

  • jane

    Man made chemicals cannot kill natural pests. Period. Their profits Will be hindered greatly for their tinkerings with nature and wholesome natural food. Organicall grown with plenty of green manure and chicken droppings. Gotta love it!! There is a saying “keep it simple stupid”. Monsanto is the “blob”. Ever heard of Critical Mass…quantum theory? Look out Monsanto, what goes around comes around.

  • Beth Martell

    What Monsanto manipulates is the probiotics in the soil. Once applied, pesticides bind the available nutrients in the soil for decades. Let’s talk about nutrition and what it takes to grow food that actually nourishes the people and animals that eat it. (Not that anything can survive on corn, a goitrogen, except to get fat.)

    If you’ll pay attention, you might notice that the animals like bats and frogs who live in the places where water collects are getting the brunt of applied toxic chemicals whose effects spike in a seasonal pattern –which we don’t have an ability to measure. And don’t get me started on bees, honey and pesticides! Talk about canaries in a coal mine! When it comes to pesticides, just start thinking in terms of probiotics and suddenly the truth will set you free.