Glyphosate-based herbicides, which are widely used in agriculture, forestry and other applications, can cause deleterious effects on the reproductive health of a common perennial plant found in forests in British Columbia, Canada. Researchers reported in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science that glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) deformed various reproductive parts on prickly rose (Rosa acicularis) a year after the chemicals were first applied in both field sites and experimental plots.
The study is one of the first to look at the effects of GBH on the reproductive morphology of a prevalent perennial plant in a commercial forestry operation. The herbicide is commonly used to control plants that could compete with conifers that are grown to be harvested in areas known as 'cutblocks'. Glyphosate has been used since the 1970s but has come under increased scrutiny in recent years over concerns about carcinogenic effects on human health.
Investigators from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) collected and analyzed samples of prickly rose reproductive parts from three cutblocks, as well as from greenhouse-grown wild plants, and compared them against untreated plants from similar sources.
The results were striking: Pollen viability of plants treated with glyphosate dropped by an average of 66% compared to the controls a year after the initial application. More than 30% of anthers, the part of the stamen that contains the pollen, failed to split open (a process known as dehiscence), condemning these flowers to functional infertility. In addition, researchers found traces of GBH on plant flowers two full years after the herbicide was first sprayed.
"The changes to plants have been documented in the past, in agricultural plants, so it is not surprising to find them in forests," said Dr Lisa J. Wood, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at UNBC. "What is important is the timeline. To continue to find these effects one to two years after herbicide applications, in new parts of growing plants, is noteworthy."
For centuries, indigenous people used prickly wild rose as both food and medicine, particularly the reproductive parts. R. acicularis is also an important plant ecologically, in part, because it provides food for pollinators. Honeybees, for example, are attracted to particular colours displayed by the flowers.
Wood and lead author Alexandra Golt, a graduate student at UNBC, observed color changes in flower petals and anthers of treated plants. Such abnormalities in coloration could affect the interaction between flowers and pollinators.
Wood said a follow-up study will investigate whether coloration changes in the GHB-treated flowers make them less or more attractive to pollinators. The researchers will also test pollinator insects and hummingbird faeces to check if glyphosate residue is present.
"This will tell us if pollinators are taking up residues from the plants they feed on," she explained. "We will also research other plants to see if the changes we observed in the wild rose are also found in other flowers."
Wood said that while past research shows glyphosate is not acutely toxic to most organisms at the levels applied commercially in Canada, scientists don't know a lot about the chronic implications of glyphosate use or how it changes the dynamics of the natural environment - such as the interactions between species or the available food quality.
"The more we learn the better, and research can always be used to better inform management," Wood noted. "Herbicide practices may change, if the research shows that this is in the public's best interest."
Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Alter the Reproductive Morphology of Rosa acicularis (Prickly Rose)
Alexandra R. Golt and Lisa J. Wood
Front. Plant Sci., 16 June 2021
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is widely used in many different commercial formulations. Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) are used in forestry operations to reduce populations of plants that compete with merchantable conifers. Past research has found that low-dose GBH applications caused male sterility in agriculturally relevant plants, sparking a need to determine the potential impacts of forestry-related GBH applications on understory plants. We investigated the effects of GBH on the reproductive morphology of Rosa acicularis, a highly prevalent understory shrub within British Columbia, Canada, growing on three operational forestry cutblocks treated with 1.782 kg a.i./ha of glyphosate, in the Omineca Region, and also in a controlled experiment. We analyzed floral and pollen morphology from treated plants and compared these with untreated plants in both scenarios. Pollen viability of treated plants was reduced by an average of 66%, and >30% of anthers were non-dehiscent compared to controls across our three field sites and experimental plants. We also found alterations in pollen and petal morphology in flowers from treated sites and glyphosate residues present in floral tissues 2 years after GBH applications. It is important to fully understand how long GBH-induced change will impact forest vegetation, to preserve natural forest biodiversity and reduce anthropogenic influences on boreal forest ecosystems.
Kalamata is a city in Peloponnese, Greece which has given its name to the superb quality Kalamata Olives or Kalamon Olives. The city has its own Olive oil school and is the capital of Messinia county where the olive trees groves dominate over any other tree cultivation. Whole picture of Kalamata finishes with the organisation of its own olive oil competition and olive festival: Kalamata Olive oil competition
This year results are:
Kalamata PDO extra virgin olive oil
Agrexpo Faris PDO Kalamata extra virgin olive oil
Agropoly PDO Kalamata extra virgin olive oil
Organic Extra Virgin Olive oil Category
Gold medal: Kyklopas Ages Organic extra virgin olive oil
Silver medal: Mani Organic extra virgin olive oil
Bronze medal: Kondea Organic extra virgin olive oil
High phenolic extra virgin olive oil
Gold medal: EnKardia Ultra Premium extra virgin olive oil
Bronze medal Agropoly Organic High Phenolic extra virgin olive oil
Within the frame of the Kalamata olive oil competion and festival, praise/credit have been given to the following companies and their products
1st Praise: Karapata private company - Product : Lioklado extra virgin olive oil
2nd Praise: Maria Dimitrakopoulou - Product : EnKardia Traditional extra virgin olive oil
3rd Praise: Eustathios Georgakilas - Product: Georgakilas extra virgin olive oil
When you go to a cinema, the movie may cost 5 euros, but this doesn’t cover the external costs like transportation, fuel to use, phone credit to call, snacks and drinks. Likewise, when we go grocery shopping, we only see the price indicated on the product. The shown price is an indication of one part of the costs incurred to produce it, but not the entire one.
To help us understand this more, let us follow the journey of a crop. We will use potatoes. If the potato is grown conventionally, it is sprayed with synthetic pesticides and the soil hosting it is covered with chemical fertilizers. This could have an effect on the soil over time in that the organisms that keep the soil alive are destroyed by the chemicals and this leads to the soil losing its ability to retain water. When it rains, soil erosion can occur and all the sprayed chemical substances are washed away as well which can find its way into canals, rivers, lakes and water streams. Aquatic life is affected by this as well as humans. The inability of soil to retain water due intensive chemical use may lead to soil erosion that could also cause flooding.
The community has to pay taxes on one hand, for water treatment to get rid of the toxic chemical substances and on the other hand, for damming or excavation to avoid flooding. In the end, these extra costs that are incurred are paid off by our taxes and then not reflected on the final prices that we see in the supermarket of conventional products.
Consumers don’t see that we pay for more external costs through our taxes for water pollution and waste-water facilities caused partly by unsustainable agricultural practices. That is why it is important to have True Cost Accounting (TCA): a transparency tool that makes the hidden calculations visible and shows the consumer the actual price of the product being purchased.
When you do TCA, you are able to assess the impact of a food system as a whole or a farm. One is able to get an adjusted cost of production by calculating the costs for fertilizers, tractors, seeds and also the ecological footprint or climatic impact of the chemical inputs used.
For instance, 1kg of nitrogen fertilizer produces 7kg of carbon dioxide. The market price of nitrogen fertilizer is about 25 cents per kg. If this 1 kg causes 7kg of carbon dioxide, the related climate cost has to be included. According to FAO, 1000 kgs of carbon dioxide is worth or causes damages worth around 100 euros. That results in 10 cents per kg of carbon dioxide, applied to nitrogen fertilizer, this hidden or external costs would lead to an increase of 70 cents per 1kg of nitrogen fertilizer, resulting in a true cost of fertilizer of 95 cent instead of 25 cent current market price.
There are organisations like Soil & More Impacts who calculate the total costs and benefits of production, including the hidden costs, of different production systems (organic and conventional systems) and show the findings.
Another way we look at TCA is in line with a farm’s future and profit margins. A big farm that is farming intensively may produce good profits in the first year, but not in 5 years. When the soil is being damaged and stressed, beyond capacity, there might be productivity gaps in 5-10 years as a result of deteorated soils.
“We use this risk assessment to show people the damage they do to their businesses by paying low prices and not investing in creating resilient soils, farms and systems. Even the buyer and trader will not be able to buy from a farmer who cannot deliver quality products in 5 years. This may not only cause ecological damages, but also financial ones. This way, banks increasingly include so-called natural capital risks in their credit-worthiness checks of farms and supply-chains”, shares Tobias.
Organic offers solutions to not only reduce the true cost but also increase the true benefits of farming, for example, biodiversity is created, soil’s ability to retain water is increased and carbon is sequestered. Organic and agroecology show solutions to farm in a way which costs us less and has less damage on our biodiversity. We need more than not applying fertilizers, we need sustainable practices e.g. mulching, crop cover, etc. They help in increasing the resilience of the soil and business aspects. It secures food security. Other systems may appear cheap but would not be able to produce food in the changing climate on the mid- and long-run. It is possible to have low costs and a positive impact. Organic is definitely part of the solution.
What can every-day consumers do to be more aware of hidden costs!
Give food more time! This includes what we shop and consume. Try to find out where your food comes from and the efforts used to produce it. Even when you drink a cup of coffee. There is a lot of sweat and hard work that goes into it that it is impossible for it to only cost a euro. When you buy organic and fairtrade products, at least you have the guarantee that you are consuming products that are having a positive ecological impact on the environment.
Table: Impacts of conventional farming and loss of productivity
What is Organic extra virgin Olive oil?
To explain what Organic extra virgin olive oil is, we have to start from the name term which has 2 parts.
- The first part is the adjective '' Organic '', which is used when the olive tree grower applies organic farming standards on the cultivation of olive tree as these have been defined by European Union regulation EC 834/2007.
When ''Organic'' is placed on a product label and before the name then the grower must be certified showing the organic farming standards are followed. This is testified by the audits executed by the relevant regulatory bodies responsible for providing such accreditation.
Such labelling requirement is followed by other logos or emblems such as the green starred leaf for EU
- The second part is the extra virgin olive oil. Within this definition, there are 2 sections
First one is the Virgin Olive oil and according to the Olive oil – Institute of Olive Council, virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L. ) solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, particularly thermal conditions, that do not lead to alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration.
Second one is Extra an adjective which is the most important element of a virgin olive oil.
Extra Virgin Olive oil has superior taste quality and does not have taste (sensory) faults. Its chemical laboratory analysis should show results below certain limits: one of them is acidity and more specifically of no more 0.8 % on free fatty acids.
It appears to have a plethora of health benefits especially the organic ones as they do not have residues of pesticides used to fight off an insect which damages the olive fruit.
The lower than 0.8% acidity, the better quality of the extra virgin olive oil is. An extra virgin olive oil with acidity 0.5% is better than the one with acidity of 0.7%. This implies better harvesting method i.e. careful selection of olives and better process condition in the olive mill.
This super toxic and carcinogenic chemical called Glyphosate or Round Up is nearly everywhere and was also found in samples of honey in US, according to US National Library of Medicince and National Institutes of Health. This research was conducted in 2018 (PLoS One, v.13(7); 2018, PMC6040695)
It is interesting that New Zealand has now reported that Manuka Honey contains traces of this weed killer and super toxic chemical compound.
Let's remind ourselves that a few diseases caused by Round up
Source: Ata Regenarative
Glyphosate effects on Humans and mammals
The manufacturer of this carcinogenic Round-up pushes hard the relevant EU authorities to increase the concentration level of contamination in honey for various reasons:
- Not loss of profit,
- probably suspecting that the beekeepers will flow to EU courts to prosecute them for contaminating their products,
- This carcinogenic substance can be found everywhere even in honey and manufacturer want to protect themselves from being prosecuted from all sides of agriculture sectors.
Organic food is produced without the use of toxic pesticides containing heavy metals, insecticides, growth hormones and antibiotics.
The organic food does not contain chemical preservatives or genetically modified organisms either.
Furthermore, the application of irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives is prohibited in food processing for making packaged organic foods.
If a food product is labelled as organic, then its cultivation or raising in the case of animals should be following certain farming standards and methods.
The appropriate application of these farming standards is checked yearly by auditing bodies and a certification is awarded to the farmer or grower. Certified organic food production system is a heavily regulated system and it is not an easy matter as some may believe
Only then the farmer or grower can use the word ’organic’ on a food product label of theirs.
In Europe, this is further establised and materialised by placing the Organic Leaf logo made by stars on the packaging as shown below along with a code related to certification body in the corresponding country.
Organic food never contains GMO
Continue on What does organic mean?
According to the European Union legislation, the aim of organic food production is to use practices and methods of farming which protect the environment: soil, water, plants and animals and farmers and growers.
In order to maintain soil fertility and plant and animals free from diseases, various approaches are used, namely:
Such is the impact of conventional farming and agriculture that traces of toxic pesticides have been found in small rivers across all Europe, and in US, pesticide residues are in 70% of produce sold (Guardian, 29/05/19). According to the same source in September 2016, it was mentioned that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth's remaining wilderness in the last 25 years through various ''human'' activities.
The weedkiller Round up-glyphosate will never ever be used in organic farming and cultivation, as it is a synthetic toxic and carcinogenic chemical and serious contaminant of the soil and water, including underground water reserves.
Organic farming practices never contaminate the soil or waters.
European Union organic farming rules cover agricultural products, including aquaculture and yeast.
They encompass every stage of the production process, from seeds to the final processed food. This means that there are specific provisions covering a large variety of products, such as:
• seeds and propagating material such as cuttings, rhizome etc. from which plants or crops are grown;
• living products or products which do not need further processing;
• products with multiple ingredients or processed agricultural products for use as food.
EU regulations on organic production exclude products from fishing and hunting of wild animals but include harvest of wild plants when certain natural habitat conditions are respected. There are specific rules for wine and aquaculture too.
A bit of our lack of knowledge and a bit of usage of not accurate wording from chefs side, we have ended up watching on the web and on TV, episodes on cooking and chefs calling the extra virgin olive oil just oil!
Of course, calling the extra virgin olive oil just Oil is incorrect and inaccurate, olive oil is not accurate either though. ”Oil” should be wiped off from our culinary vocabulary. In certain countries, we have seen people calling it “regular” but they mean is the refined olive oil which is a a very low quality (=extremely low quality), product.
Extra virgin olive oil is not oil and it is not even olive oil. If all of us love the olive juice, we should start naming this natural product properly. Simirarly, we would not call a silver piece as golden piece because both of them are metals, would we?
There is an exception for the usage of ”olive oil” though: ”olive oil” is the name of the juice from olives generally and by itself it consists of a category of products. One of the reason this exception exists in several languages is to differentiate ”olive oil” from the other vegetables oils (juices from vegetables), generally cheap and without health benefits at all, such as sunflower or rapeseed oil.
Let’s see together why extra virgin olive oil can not be named as olive oil.
There are several types of juice from olive:
b. previously used virgin olive oil mainly in cooking and frying, and
c. other oxidised virgin olive oil products.
In our opinion, consumers should not consume this product at all. It appears to have no health benefits and no taste or aromas at all.
In certain countries, there is a usage of ”pure olive oil” and we can say categorically that there is no such thing as purity in olive oil as olive oil is a very low quality product which is derived from the refining process of used ”olive oil” products (through cooking, baking, and other oxidised olive oil products).
Our advice here is to always read the label of the product! It is our obligation as consumers to do so! By law, in all countries, all olive oil products must have label with all the above information clearly stated.