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Understanding Glyphosate  

Frank Morton

Roundup Herbicide, generically known as glyphosate, functions systemically as a cation binder, inhibiting the uptake and utilization of trace minerals like manganese, molybdemum, iron, et al., as well as the major nutrients potassium and calcium. By shutting down cell metabolism and normal immune response to common (normally non-pathogenic) Fusarium spp. found in all soils, glyphosate acts as a promoter of disease via the root zone. This is its normal mode of action against weeds. Roundup also stimulates soil fungi to sequester minerals, especially potassium, and has been shown to induce K-deficiency, even in Roundup Ready corn. RR-soybeans do not fix nitrogen efficiently because Rhizobium bacteria cannot function symbiotically with a crop exuding glyphosate into the root zone. The N-fixation enzymatic system requires molybdemum and iron, which are unavailable under the influence of glyphosate.

RR-crops indeed translocate a significant portion of their absorbed glyphosate directly into the root zone, bypassing the soil-surface photoreactions that typically break down direct glyphosate spray. Once in the root zone, glyphosate strongly effects soil ecosystems by stimulating reproduction of some fungal species and suppressing others. Sprayed weeds’ decomposing roots and RR-crop root exudates can supply a constant glyphosate ‘drip rate’ influence on these soil ecosystems that induce a "pathogenic tendency" on crop-fungal relationships. Crop residue decomposition continues to supply glyphosate to the root zone of subsequent crops, resulting in yield losses for up to 18 months in some studies. Glyphosate readily travels with runoff waters from fields, and results in high mortality to amphibians in ditches and streams draining RR-farms. To understand glyphosate, imagine a systemic magnet for essential cellular nutrients that disrupts ecological relationships and turns harmless neighbors into flesh eating monsters.

Printed in the 2007 Wild Garden Seed Catalog.

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