Glyphosate, 2,4-D And Dicamba Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

What-Causes-Antibiotic-Resistance

Scientists have discovered that exposure to three widely used herbicides including Monsanto’s Roundup and Kamba causes pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance to medically important antibiotics.

This is a very important scientific discovery. The study shows that the use of herbicides in intensive farming may be one of the reasons that antibiotic resistance has been increasing so rapidly in recent years.

A team of researchers from universities in New Zealand and Mexico have discovered that three herbicides (weed killers) widely used in agriculture and in gardens can make disease causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Their paper, published in the online journal MBio, offers a new perspective on the problem of antibiotic resistance, which may help to explain why it has been increasing so rapidly in recent years.

The three herbicides they looked at were glyphosate, the world’s most widely used pesticide (formulations are sold by Monsanto as ‘Roundup’), dicamba (Kamba), which is proprietary to Monsanto, and 2,4-D, the active ingredient of the notorious ‘agent orange’ herbicide used by the US military to ‘defoliate’ rainforests in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s.

These were tested on E. coli and Salmonella bacteria treated with one of five different antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, ampicillin, kanamycin and tetracycline. E.coli cause more infections that any other type of bacteria. Both E.coli and Salmonella can cause serious, even fatal, infections.

In most cases even low levels of the herbicides had the effect of inducing antibiotic resistance before the antibiotics had time to kill the bacteria. In a few antibiotic / herbicide combinations they actually made the bacteria more susceptible to the antibiotic, while in other cases they had no impact.

The danger is on-farm, not in food

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Cornwall’s Carbon Neutral Farm Offers Hope For Sustainable Agriculture

Free range pigs, UK

With no experience in farming, the Sousek family left their urban life in Kent to run a farm powered by solar panels, a wind turbine and waste vegetable oil

Agriculture is responsible for almost 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and a quarter globally. It doesn’t have to be this way, as farmers Paul and Celia Sousek demonstrate. Their commitment to organic farming without the use of fossil fuels demonstrates that far from contributing to climate change, agriculture can be part of the solution. I headed to Cottage Farm near Jacobstow, North Cornwall to see how on-farm renewables are enabling the Sousek family to fulfil their role as stewards of the environment as they cultivate a successful, family-run farm business.

It’s hard to believe that Paul and Celia Sousek, Farmer of the Year finalists in the BBC Food and Farming awards 2011, had absolutely no farming experience when they upped sticks and moved 300 miles West to Cottage Farm back in 2005. Unfazed, they embarked on their new livelihoods with a weekend course in Cows for Beginners and now oversee 50 hectares of land which is home to cows, sheep, hens and some very vocal geese. So why did the couple leave behind successful careers and the life they had built in Kent to take to the Cornish fields?

“That’s a simple one to answer”, says Paul. “I learnt about peak oil. Right on cue we then had the oil crisis in 2007, swiftly followed by the financial meltdown in 2008. Some believe that has all been resolved, but together with the ever worsening climate change situation, I think our problems are only just beginning.”
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