Natural control of thrips

There are more than 6,000 thrips species sucking the life from plants all over the world. Get rid of them naturally without resorting to toxic sprays by using these SAFE, organic methods.

A common pest found in greenhouses and indoor/ outdoor gardens, thrips damage plants by sucking their juices and scraping at fruits, flowers and leaves. Plant leaves may turn pale, splotchy, and silvery, then die. Injured plants are twisted, discolored and scarred.

Adults are very small (less than 1/25 inch) straw-colored or black slender insects with two pairs of feathery wings. Without the use of a hand lens, they resemble tiny dark threads.


Extremely active, thrips feed in large groups. They leap or fly away when disturbed. Host plants include onions, beans, carrots, squash and many other garden vegetables, and many flowers, especially gladioli and roses. Both adults and the wingless larvae are attracted to white, yellow and other light colored blossoms and are responsible for spreading tomato spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus.

Life Cycle

Adults and pupae overwinter in garden soil. In spring, newly emerged females insert eggs into the tissues of flowers, leaves or stems. (They do not need to mate for reproduction.) Each female can produce up to 80 eggs, which hatch within days in warm weather or weeks to months in colder weather. They become wingless larvae (nymphs), which feed on plant sap. After two or more nymphal stages, many thrips drop to the soil to pupate. Emerging adults fly to the plant and repeat the cycle. There may be 12-15 generations per year with the entire cycle from egg to adult requiring less than 16 days in warm weather.


Thrip management is a matter of garden maintenance — reducing the places where thrips may breed — and requires removing plant debris while it’s still on the ground and green. Thrips lay their eggs in slits they cut in live plant stems. Vigilance — spotting problems early and responding to them — is also required. Check your plants for damage and clusters of the pests at the place where leaves are attached to stems. Don’t wait to take action. Take the measures listed below. And be sure to use the safest, most proven products.

  • To get rid of thrips remove weeds and grass from around garden areas to eliminate alternate hosts. Clean up crop debris in the garden, especially onion leaves after harvest. (Dry mulch will not attract thrips. Green mulch will.)
  • Inspect all plants you import into the garden for signs of thrips or their damage. Discard any infested plants by securely bagging and putting in the trash.
  • Blue sticky trapsare helpful for monitoring adult populations.
  • If found, use the Bug Blasterto hose off plants with a strong, encompassing spray of water to reduce pest numbers.
  • Release commercially available beneficial insects, such as minute pirate bugs, the effective thrips predator(feeds on eggs and larvae before they can become adults), ladybugs, and lacewing, (especially effective in green houses) to attack and destroy all stages of this pest. For best results, make releases after first knocking down severe infestations with water spray or other method.
  • Severe populations may require a least-toxic, short-lived botanical insecticide(pyrethrin) to reduce pest numbers. Follow-up with predatory insects to maintain control.
  • Safe, smothering insecticidal soaps made from naturally occurring plant oilsand fats, are also effective for knocking down heavy infestations (and won’t harm most naturally occurring beneficial insects). Spinosad and neem oil can be used to spot treat heavily infested areas.

Tip: Thorough coverage is necessary when using natural contact insecticides, especially on the undersides of leaves and where leaves attach to stems, a favorite place for thrips to congregate.

Cancer and GMOs

Genetically modified (GM) food has been around for decades. Most corn and soy purchased in the United States is GM food. Proponents argue that there are no ill effects on humans with GM food but I completely disagree. I’m not in the minority with my belief that changing the genetic structure of a food product is playing with disaster. Recent studies reveal that GM corn destroys the intestinal lining of mice causing absorption problems and leaky gut syndrome. What is it doing to our gut?

Today’s GMOs are based on adding new genes to crops like corn, soy, and cotton in order to alter the way the plants function, make them more tolerant to disease and bugs, and able companies to patent the seed and create an endless need for farmers to repurchase, year after year. Gone are the days of saving seeds; it’s against the law – Monsanto owns the patent. To say that our food supplies, laced with toxins, filled with additives, colorings and chemicals, and now genetically altered don’t negatively affect our bodies is ludicrous. This book does not contain enough space to discuss these things in detail and I have recommended various books for your personal research, but it suffices to say that removing these poisons from your diet is of utmost importance.

In order to make crops more resistant to pests, scientists insert a special gene, called Bt-toxin – derived from Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria – into corn and cotton plants. The toxin attacks the stomach lining of nibbling insects, killing the pests within a couple of days of ingestion. More than 65 percent of U.S. corn crops contain this special gene that produces the insecticide.

Another alarming fact: 80% of the processed food items in your local supermarket contain genetically modified ingredients. This means that if you are a U. S resident, you are undoubtedly eating genetically modified foods.

These genetically modified foods have been sneaking into our diets since 1995, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analyzed the first genetically engineered plant – corn. Today, 90% of several U.S. crops are grown with genetically engineered seed.

Bottom line: Eat only organically grown foods. Do your own research into the foods you put into your mouth and make sure they are not genetically modified. If we all create a greater demand for good food, the supply will follow.\

Here are some ways to curb your intake of GM foods:

  • Know the most commonly modified crops. Soybeans, corn, cotton (for oil), canola (for oil), squash, zucchini and papaya are all popular GMOs. Find other GM crops.
  • Buy organic foods. Organic foods are grown from non-GMO seeds.
  • Buy meats from grass-fed animals. Cows, chickens, pigs and even farmed fish are often on a diet of genetically modified corn or alfalfa. Check that your meat is from animals that are grass-fed or pasture-fed.
  • Read the labels. The top two genetically modified crops are corn and soy. They’re also the most widely used ingredients. Avoid products that contain ingredients like corn syrup and soy lecithin.
  • Buy brands labeled as non-GM or GMO free. Some products are labeled as non-GM or GMO-free. Meaning, they do not use genetically modified ingredients. GMO-free food sources are listed on the Non-GMO Project website.
  • Shop at local farmers markets. Most GM foods come from large industrial farms. Shop at local farmers markets or sign-up for a co-op.

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.

Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.

7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed. 
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

8. GMOs harm the environment.

GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

GMOs cause cancer in human

In November 2012, the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled Long Term Toxicity of Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant genetically modified maize by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University. (source) It was a very significant study that made a lot of noise worldwide, the first of its kind under controlled conditions that examined the possible effects of a GMO maize diet treated with Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide.

After the research was completed, it went through rigorous reviews, as well as a four month review process by scientists and researchers. It was eventually approved and published, only to be retracted by request of the Journal. Although hundreds of scientists around the world condemned the retraction, and the researchers addressed the criticisms, it was to no avail.

There is great news to report however, as this major GMO study has now been republished following its controversial retraction (under strong commercial pressure), with even more up to date information and a response to previous criticisms.

The study has now been published by Environmental Sciences Europe. (source)

The chronic toxicity study examined the health impacts on rats of eating  commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize, alongside Monsanto’s NK603 glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.

The study found severe liver and kidney damage as well as hormonal disturbances in rats fed with GM maize in conjunction with low levels of Roundup that were below those permitted in most drinking water across Europe. Results also indicated high rates of large tumors and mortality in most treatment groups.

The republished study also has a section describing the lobbying efforts of GMO crop supporters to force the retraction of the original publication. This is scientific fraud at its best. The authors express how the previous retraction was “a historic example of conflicts of interest in the scientific assessments of products commercialized worldwide.”

“We also show that the decision to retract cannot be rationalized on any discernible scientific or ethical grounds. Censorship of research into health risks undermines the value and the credibility of science, thus, we republish our paper.” –  Seralini

“Censorship on research into the risks of a technology so critically entwined with global food safety undermines the value and the credibility of science.” – Seralini

This study has now successfully passed through multiple rounds of rigorous peer review. Again, the study shows that Roundup-treated GM corn as well as the herbicide used on it increases cancer in rats. There are a number of studies that demonstrate the potential health risks of GM plants, this one in particular drew heavy criticism from industry scientists.

“The major criticisms of the Seralini manuscript were that the proper strain of rats was not used and their numbers were too small. Neither criticism is valid. The strain of rat is that which is required by the FDA for drug toxicology, and the toxic effects were unambiguously significant. In fact, Monsanto published a similar study in the same journal eight years before using the same number and strain of rats. Their study was for 90 days and claimed no harm. In contrast, the Seralini study was for two years and did not see any tumors until after nine months. Therefore, it is clear that the short 90-day feeding paradigm is not sufficiently long to detect the carcinogenic effects of GM products. It takes a long time before low-level exposure to environmental toxins affect health. For example, a recent associated press report documented the dramatic increase in birth defects and cancer in areas  of Argentina that have grown GM soy for a decade. Given these facts, what was the justification of the editorial decision to retract the Seralini Manuscript?”  (source)

Other Studies Regarding GMOs and Herbicides

There is a reason that multiple countries all over the world have been banning GMOs and the pesticides that go with them. More information is emerging everyday from scientists and researchers all over the world that clearly points to the fact that we just don’t know enough about GM’s to deem them totally safe for human consumption.

By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment.The FDA has said that genetically modified organisms are not much different from regular food, so they’ll be treated in the same way. The problem is this, geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move it horizontally into a totally unrelated species. Now David Suzuki doesn’t normally mate with a carrot and exchange genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other without regard to the biological constraints. It’s very very bad science, we assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically, applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion –Geneticist David Suzuki (source)

Below is an excerpt from a previous article I wrote. For more information on this subject you can use the search bar on our website to find what you are looking for.

1. Multiple Toxins From GMOs Detected In Maternal and Fetal Blood

Research from Canada (the first of its kind) has successfully identified the presence of pesticides -associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, fetal and non-pregnant women’s blood. They also found the presence of Monsanto’s Bt toxin. The study was published in the Journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2011.(1) You can read the FULL study here.

“Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach. Thus, our present results will provide baseline data for future studies exploring a new area of research relating to nutrition, toxicology and reproduction in women. Today, obstetric-gynecological disorders that are associated with environmental chemicals are not known.  Thus, knowing the actual concentration of genetically modified foods in humans constitutes a cornerstone in the advancement of research in this area.” (1)

The study used blood samples from thirty pregnant women and thirty non-pregnant women. The study also pointed out that the fetus is considered to be highly susceptible to the adverse affects of xenobiotics (foreign chemical substance found within an organism that is not naturally produced.)  This is why the study emphasizes that knowing more about GMOs is crucial, because environmental agents could disrupt the biological events that are required to ensure normal growth and development.

2. DNA From Genetically Modified Crops Can Be Transferred Into Humans Who Eat Them

In a new study published in the peer reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS), researchers emphasize that there is sufficient evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system through an unknown mechanism.(2)

In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA.  The study was based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies. PLOS is an open access, well respected peer-reviewed scientific journal that covers primary research from disciplines within science and medicine. It’s great to see this study published in it, confirming what many have been suspected for years.

“Our bloodstream is considered to be an environment well separated from the outside world and the digestive tract. According to the standard paradigm large macromolecules consumed with food cannot pass directly to the circulatory system. During digestion proteins and DNA are thought to be degraded into small constituents, amino acids and nucleic acids, respectively, and then absorbed by a complex active process and distributed to various parts of the body through the circulation system. Here, based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies, we report evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments which are large enough to carry complete genes can avoid degradation and through an unknown mechanism enter the human circulation system. In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The plant DNA concentration shows a surprisingly precise log-normal distribution in the plasma samples while non-plasma (cord blood) control sample was found to be free of plant DNA.” (2)

This still doesn’t mean that GMOs can enter into our cells, but given the fact GMOs have been linked to cancer (later in this article) it is safe to assume it is indeed a possibility. The bottom line is that we don’t know, and this study demonstrates another cause for concern.

3. New Study Links GMOs To Gluten Disorders That Affect 18 Million Americans

This study was recently released by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and uses data from the US department of Agriculture, US Environmental Protection Agency, medical journal reviews as well as other independent research. (3)(4) The authors relate GM foods to five conditions that may either trigger or exacerbate gluten-related disorders, including the autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease:

  • Intestinal permeability
  • Imbalanced gut bacteria
  • Immune activation and allergic response
  • Impaired digestion
  • Damage to the intestinal wall

The Institute for Responsible technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about GMO foods and crops. The institute reports and investigates on the impact GM foods can have on health, environment, agriculture and more.

4. Study Links Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors

In November 2012, The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize’ by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University. (5)

It was a very significant study, which obviously looks bad for the big bio tech companies like Monsanto, being the first and only long term study under controlled conditions examining the possible effects of a diet of GMO maize treated with Monsanto roundup herbicide.

This study has since been retracted, which is odd, because the journal it was published in is a very well known, reputable peer reviewed scientific journal. In order for a study to be published here it has to go through a rigorous review process.

It’s also important to note that hundreds of scientists from around the world have condemned the retraction of the study. This study was done by experts, and a correlation between GMOs and these tumors can’t be denied, something happened.

The multiple criticisms of the study have also been answered by the team of researchers that conducted the study. You can read them and find out more about the study here.

GM Crop Production is Lowering US Yields and Increasing Pesticide Use

5. Glyphosate Induces Human Breast Cancer Cells Growth via Estrogen Receptors

A study is published in the US National Library of Medicine (4) and will soon be published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. Several recent studies showed glyphosate’s potential to be an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system in mammals. These disruptors can cause developmental disorders, birth defects and cancer tumors. (6)

Glyphosate exerted proliferative effects only in human hormone-dependent breast cancer. We found that glyphosate exhibited a weaker estrogenic activity than estradiol. Furthermore, this study demonstrated the additive estrogenic effects of glyphosate and genisein which implied that the use of contaminated soybean products as dietary supplements may pose a risk of breast cancer because of their potential additive estrogenicity. (6)

Researchers also determined that Monsanto’s roundup is considered an “xenoestrogen,” which is a foreign estrogen that mimics real estrogen in our bodies. This can cause a number of problems that include an increased risk of various cancers, early onset of puberty, thyroid issues, infertility and more.

6. Glyphosate Linked To Birth Defects

A group of scientists put together a comprehensive review of existing data that shows how European regulators have known that Monsanto’s glyphosate causes a number of birth malformations since at least 2002. Regulators misled the public about glyphosate’s safety, and in Germany the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety told the European Commission that there was no evidence to suggest that glyphosate causes birth defects. (7) (link might not work for some, if not you can access that report HERE)

Our examination of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that the current approval of glyphosate and Roundup is deeply flawed and unreliable. In this report, we examine the industry studies and regulatory documents that led to the approval of glyphosate. We show that industry and regulators knew as long ago as the 1980s and 1990s that glyphosate causes malformation – but that this information was not made public. We demonstrate how EU regulators reasoned their way from clear evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity in industry’s own studies to a conclusion that minimized these findings in the EU Commission’s final review report (7)

Here is a summary of the report:

  • Multiple peer-reviewed scientific literature documenting serious health hazards posed by glyphosate
  • Industry (including Monsanto) has known since the 1980′s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses
  • Industry has known since 1993 that these effects could also occur at lower and mid doses
  • The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations
  • The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations
  • The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year DG SANCO division published its final review report, laying out the basis for the current approval of glyphosate

Another study published by the American Chemical Society, from the university of Buenos Aires, Argentina also showed that Glyphosate can cause abnormalities.(8)

The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to glyphosate in agricultural fields (8)

7. Study Links Glyphosate To Autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

When you ingest Glyphosate, you are in essence altering the chemistry of your body. It’s completely unnatural and the body doesn’t resonate with it. P450 (CYP) is the gene pathway disrupted when the body takes in Glyphosate. P450 creates enzymes that assist with the formation of molecules in cells, as well as breaking them down. CYP enzymes are abundant and have many important functions. They are responsible for detoxifying xenobiotics from the body, things like the various chemicals found in pesticides, drugs and carcinogens. Glyphosate inhibits the CYP enzymes. The CYP pathway is critical for normal, natural functioning of multiple biological systems within our bodies. Because humans that’ve been exposed to glyphosate have a drop in amino acid tryptophan levels, they do not have the necessary active signalling of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. (9)

8. Chronically Ill Humans Have Higher Glyphosate Levels Than Healthy Humans

A new study out of Germany concludes that Glyphosate residue could reach humans and animals through feed and can be excreted in urine. It outlines how presence of glyphosate in urine and its accumulation in animal tissues is alarming even at low concentrations. (10)

To this day, Monsanto continues to advertise its Roundup products as environmentally friendly and claims that neither animals nor humans are affected by this toxin. Environmentalists, veterinarians, medical doctors and scientists however, have raised increasing alarms about the danger of glyphosate in the animal and human food chain as well as the environment. The fact that glyphosate has been found in animals and humans is of great concern. In search for the causes of serious diseases amongst entire herds of animals in northern Germany, especially cattle, glyphosate has repeatedly been detected in the urine, feces, milk and feed of the animals. Even more alarming, glyphosate was detected in the urine of the farmers.  (10)

9. Studies Link GMO Animal Feed to Severe Stomach Inflammation and Enlarged Uteri in Pigs

A study by scientist Judy Carman, PhD that was recently published in the peer reviewed journal Organic Systems outlines the effects of a diet mixed with GMO feed for pigs, and how it is a cause for concern when it comes to health. (11) Scientists randomized and fed isowean pigs either a mixed GM soy and GM corn (maize) diet for approximately 23 weeks (nothing out of the ordinary for most pigs in the United States), which is unfortunately the normal lifespan of a commercial pig from weaning to slaughter. Equal numbers of male and female pigs were present in each group. The GM diet was associated with gastric and uterine differences in pigs. GM pigs had uteri that were 25% heavier than non-GM fed pigs. GM-fed pigs had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation with a rate of 32% compared to 125 of non-GM fed pigs.

The study concluded that pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited a heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs who weren’t fed a GMO diet. Because the use of GMO feed for livestock and humans is so widespread, this is definitely another cause for concern when it comes to GMO consumption. Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are consumed widely by people, especially in the United States.

10. GMO risk assessment is based on very little scientific evidence in the sense that the testing methods recommended are not adequate to ensure safety. (12)(13)(14)

Deficiencies have been revealed numerous times with regards to testing GM foods.

The first guidelines were originally designed to regulate the introduction of GM microbes and plants into the environment with no attention being paid to food safety concerns. However, they have been widely cited as adding authoritative scientific support to food safety assessment. Additionally, the Statement of Policy released by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, presumptively recognizing the GM foods as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), was prepared while there were critical guidelines prepared by the International Life Sciences Institute Europe and FAO/WHO recommend that safety evaluation should be based on the concept of substantial equivalence, considering parameters such as molecular characterization, phenotypic characteristics, key nutrients, toxicants and allergens. Since 2003, official standards for food safety assessment have been published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission of FAO/WHO. Published reviews with around 25 peer-reviewed studies have found that despite the guidelines, the risk assessment of GM foods has not followed a defined prototype.(12) (15)
“The risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops for human nutrition and health has not been systematic. Evaluations for each GM crop or trait have been conducted using different feeding periods, animal models and parameters. The most common results is that GM and conventional sources include similar nutritional performance and growth in animals. However, adverse microscopic and molecular effects of some GM foods in different organs or tissues have been reported. While there are currently no standardized methods to evaluate the safety of GM foods, attempts towards harmonization are on the way. More scientific effort is necessary in order to build confidence in the evaluation and acceptance of GM foods.” (12) (15)


(All other sources not listen here are highlighted throughout the article)













(13) Reese W, Schubert D. Safety testing and regulation of genetically engineered foods. Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev. 2004;21:299–324

(14) Schubert D. A different perspective on GM food. Nat Biotechnol. 2002;20:969–969.


 Source of Article: Collective Evolution logo

New Record for Largest Pumpkin Weighs in at 2,363 pounds

On the morning of October 9th, 2017 Joel Holland of Sumner, Washington took the first-place prize in the 44th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California.

For close to three hours, the crowd watched as pumpkin after pumpkin was lifted by forklift and placed on the scale. They watched with anticipation, waiting for the heaviest pumpkin to reveal itself. When the last pumpkin of the day, Holland’s giant fruit, was placed on the scale anticipation filled the crowd. When the numbers flashed on the screen the crowd boomed. The 2,363-pound pumpkin is the heaviest pumpkin ever in the history of the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

Holland and his wife Mari Lou arrived at the competition with his giant pumpkin on the back of his pick-up truck. This record breaking pumpkin gave Holland his 7th win at the pumpkin weigh-off. He walked away with $7 per pound prize money, that’s $16,541 in pumpkin winnings.

Runner-up Cindy Tobek, of Olympia, Washington, came in 361 pounds short with her 2,002-pound pumpkin. But she was still beaming with pride, as she beat her 2016 winning pumpkin that weighed in at 1,910 pounds.

Looking to the future

Looking to the future: The changing climate will have a big impact on the way we garden. We’re investigating ways in which we can manage these changes
Gardens can come in many forms, from a single container  to a large domestic garden. They can be school, hospital or community gardens, or managed  areas open to the public, such as components of urban parks, the grounds of stately homes or botanical gardens. They are multifunctional spaces, important for health and social well–
A summary of climate projections

  • Global mean surface temperature has increased by 0.86°C from

1880 to 2016 and is projected to continue to rise.

  • The rate of future increase is dependent on the extent to which
  1. Even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced today, the climate will continue to change rapidly over the coming decades due to historic emissions. Consequently, gardeners should be mindful that trees planted now might not be suited to the climate in

2050, for example.
being whilst also supporting the natural environment by helping to
CO  and  other  greenhouse  gas  emissions are  restricted  in
sustain wildlife. Gardens also provide important ecosystem services,
such as mitigating urban flooding, urban cooling, building insulation, pollutant capture and carbon sequestration.
forthcoming years.

  • Even  with stricter legislation on  greenhouse  gas  emissions, global temperature  may still rise by at least a further 1.5 to

What can you do?

  1. Green your living  space.  Trees and  plants  remove heat–

Since  the  2002   publication  of  the  ‘Gardening  in  the  Global 2.0ºC over the next 100 years. Average temperature is projected trapping CO from the atmosphere, reduce the risk of flooding,
Greenhouse’ report, the climate has undergone  dramatic change, with 2016 proving to be the warmest year on record (Met Office
2017; NASA 2017). The global climate is changing rapidly as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, and we are already experiencing the consequences of this, including more frequent and intense rainfall events in combination with rising temperatures. These changes will be compounded  if human  activities continue to emit carbon and other polluting compounds at the current rate. Despite this, there is a relentless trend to replace green space with impermeable surfaces, and  burn fossil fuels to the  extent  where atmospheric pollutants are  frequently  reaching  toxic concentrations  in our increasingly urbanised world.
With populations rising and housing development set to continue into the  future, the  role of gardens  in delivering the  health  and environmental ecosystem services formerly fulfilled by the natural environment will become increasingly important. With over half of UK adults engaged in gardening (Department for Culture Media and Sport 2015), there is great potential for this group to help maintain biodiversity, make a major contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and prepare for the growing impacts of climate change.
In 2012, Defra released their first Climate Change Risk Assessment report,  which was  reviewed  in  2017.  The  most  recent  report identified invasive organisms (including pests, diseases and invasive non–native  species), resource use and  soil health  as key risks of climate change  and  highlighted the  need  for further research in these areas (Defra 2017). These risks align with those found by this report to be particularly relevant to gardeners, and are fundamental in underpinning scientific research at the RHS.
Gardens are important for many aspects of society, and their ubiquity means that they should be considered by policymakers, governments and NGOs who seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change and encourage adaptation at a national scale. This report has:

  • Explored evidence  that  currently exists with regard  to  the intrinsic link between gardens and climate change.
  • Summarised the implications of climate projections for gardeners.
  • Outlined ways in which gardeners can both adapt to a changing climate, but also mitigate against further greenhouse gas emissions.

to increase in all seasons and across all regions of the UK.

  • There will continue to be high year on year variability in rainfall.
  • It is likely that  there will be an increase in the number of dry spells, and this will be most pronounced in southern areas of the UK, and especially over the summer months.
  • The frequency of very wet days will increase over the winter, and this will be most pronounced in northern areas of the UK
  • Gardens  close to  the  coast  or located  near  estuaries  may experience more flooding as a  result of an  increase in the frequency and severity of tidal surges, whereas gardens located upstream will experience an increase in flooding due to more frequent and intense fluvial flooding events.


  • It is theoretically possible that  in the future, much of the UK

could be frost free in some years.
Implications for gardeners

  1. Warmer springs and autumns will extend the growing season and, therefore, some species will flower earlier and some will experience delayed leaf colouring or leaf fall. There will also be the need for more weeding, mowing and pruning.


  1. A longer growing season  might allow for a wider variety of plant species to be grown. When attempting to grow different varieties, gardeners will face a continual trade–off between a longer growing season and extreme weather events.


  1. The amount of solar radiation available for plant growth has increased by around 5% relative to 1961–1990. This has been linked to a reduction in cloud cover.


  1. Extreme rainfall events might increase the rate that nutrients, particularly nitrogen are washed out of the soil. Therefore, the timing of fertiliser application should be carefully considered.


  1. Dry spells are  projected   to  occur  more  often;  therefore gardeners will need  to consider methods  of capturing water during intense rainfall events.


  1. It is expected that  warmer conditions will favour the spread of existing pests and diseases, in addition to aiding the establishment  of  new  cases.  However, climate  change  will mean that populations of those pests and diseases who exploit frost wounds, for example, may struggle to survive.

and some species can even capture particulate pollution.

  1. Plant a  diverse  range  of  plants  in your garden.  Earlier flowering might disrupt host–pollinator associations, so plant a  diverse variety of pollinator friendly plants  with different flowering times.


  1. Adopt new ways of growing. Green roofs and walls can result in year–round home energy savings due to a cooling effect in summer and an  insulating effect  in winter. Improve energy efficiency through use of technologies and try to reduce the use of petrol–powered tools.


  1. Water use and management in gardens. Seek water butts with a larger than standard capacity to ensure a sufficient water supply over the summer. Select plants and design strategies better suited to the environment.


  1. Avoid peat. Peatlands store considerable amounts of carbon.

Look, ask for and use peat–free composts. There are now some high quality products out there that work.

  1. Compost your garden and kitchen waste. Gardeners may wish to  compost  more  garden  and  kitchen waste  as  this provides excellent nutrients for the garden, but thrown away as household waste, it ends up on landfill and produces potent greenhouse gases.


  1. Adopt the 4R’s. Reduce – the use of resources in your garden wherever possible, Reuse – household materials and seasonal items year on year, Recycle – your garden waste, plastic, glass and metals and Reinvest – help stimulate demand for recycled products by buying recycled items.


  1. Avoid wherever possible  the  use  of  chemicals  in  your garden. As a first choice avoid the  use of chemicals in the garden. If required, use products with a low carbon footprint.


  1. Practice Integrated   Pest  management  (IPm). Adopt  a combination of good plant biosecurity, biological, cultural and chemical controls in order to minimise the spread of pests and diseases.


  1. Invasive Species. Gardeners should ensure that their cultivated plants remain in the garden, and that legislation is adhered to during plant disposal.

Article Link:

Role of Agriculture and Biotechnology to Eliminate Smog

Word ‘’Smog’’ was used in 20th century 1st time. Actually it is a term which is mixture of fog and smoke. Fog along with the toxic compounds such as Nitrogen Oxide, Sulphur Oxide and Ozone is coined as Smog. Now a days ,Vehicles, Industries, forest fires and photochemical reactions are main source of the  smog. Now a days smog is a main health damage issue in Pakistan. Smog covers the two main cities of Pakistan (Lahore and Faisalabad) every year and ration of pollutants is increasing year by year. According to a World Health Organization, it is estimated that almost 60,000 Pakistanis died from the high level of fine particles in the air. Initially it was a problem of Developing Countries such as California, China and Japan are on the top of the list.

Most common health problems are respiratory and heath problems in adults and in children it leads to the pneumonia and asthma ultimately leads to the death. Smog also contains the carcinogenic elements and leads to serious cancerous diseases. Now there is need to create awareness in public and also need for concerning departments to step forward and play their role to save country and nation.According to a report Punjab Environment Protection Department is need prepare to handle any senstive  conditions to save environment due to the lack of resources.According to the Labs director Tauqeer Ahmed Qureshi “We have limited finance and human resources,” he admits. “Our last tender for the instruments was for Rs40 million per machine, while maintenance would cost Rs5 million every year per station.”

Here is need of Agricultural Sector to step forward for their contribution.11 plants are listed which are important to eliminate the pollution and smog from the air and these are Areca Palm, Money Plant, Spider Plant, Purple Waffle Plant, Bamboo Palm, Variegated Wax Plant, Lily turf, Boston Fern, Dwarf Date Palm, Moth Orchids and Barberton Daisy. These plant should be grow more and more to reduce the pollution and create awareness in people to grow these plants in their home, gardens and offices.

Biotechnology can play a major role for the environment safety. Bioremediation is an important method to reduce pollutants from the air. It is the use of the microorganisms to eliminate the pollution from the environment. Bioadsorption is also a new process  in which bioadsorbers are being made from the renewable materials and work as eliminator of toxic heavy metals. Genetically engineered grasses and trees may be a excellent source of pollution removal. Phytoremediation is the process in which plants are engineered in such a way that they become capable to absorb the toxic metals and other pollutants and convert them into the harmless compounds. Now  there is need of biotechnologists and other scientists to start work on this issue and play an remarkable role to save the air and to save the life.

Written By ‘’ Javaria Tabusam’’ Department of CABB,UAF.

Deregulating Punjab agriculture sector

THE Punjab government is negotiating a project with the World Bank to deregulate its rural-based agro-economy to increase the productivity of crop and livestock farmers, improve their climate resilience and foster agribusiness in the province.

The provincial government has requested the bank to support the Strengthening Markets for Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) programme.

The programme will support selected parts of the government’s broader programme by helping it transform agriculture, livestock, water resources management and the rural non-farm sector with a focus on increasing productivity, improving the functioning of markets including food safety, supporting the rural non-farm economy and enhancing resilience and inclusiveness over a five-year period through 2022.

Agriculture employs more than 44pc of the country’s working-age population, but it does not allow for the regulation of employment terms, nor does it provide social safety nets

The deregulation is expected to create space for more budgetary allocations in the public sector through the reduction of subsidies. The budget could then be reallocated to better maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, promoting high value agriculture, improving the delivery of agricultural services, research and extension and agricultural insurance.

Deregulating Punjab’s agriculture sector
Deregulating Punjab’s agriculture sector

If the legislation pertaining to agriculture, water and the environment is enforced and complied with, deregulation will benefit the environment in the form of improved water efficiency and productivity and less use of fertilisers and pesticides, the World Bank believes.

Punjab’s rural economy is characterised by an unequal distribution of resources and a proliferation of smallholders, who do not necessarily have access to policymakers and legislators who formulate strategies for the agriculture sector.

Preliminary results from the 2017 census place the size of the country’s rural population at about 135 million of a total of 208m people. The total population of Punjab is estimated at just over 110m, of which almost 64 per cent, or 70m, are estimated to be living in rural areas.

Agriculture employs more than 44pc of the country’s working-age population, but it does not allow for the regulation of employment terms, nor does it provide social safety nets that can help smooth out significant fluctuations in the value of production, or allow for formal sector financing models to be rolled out at scale.

Interventions in these areas are needed to make a positive difference to the 92pc of farmers who live off landholdings of less than two hectares. The government’s broader programme is supported by an investment of $3.797 billion in agriculture, livestock, farm-to-market roads and irrigation over the next five years. Of this amount, $1.145bn is allocated to agriculture and livestock.

In addition, there is a recurrent budget allocation of $330m for irrigation maintenance and repair, and $115m for human resources, bringing the size of the programme expenditure framework to $4.242bn.

The Punjab government also spends an estimated $515m each year on agricultural subsidies, including wheat ($333m) as part of its recurrent expenditures.

The Programme for Results-supported government programme is limited to the allocation for agriculture and livestock, plus human resources and irrigation maintenance and repair for a total of $1.59bn.

The World Bank says that growth in the agriculture sector in Punjab has been poor for some years and this has had a detrimental effect on the well-being of agricultural communities.

Communities dependent on agriculture have traditionally included deprived members of society, including landless farmers, small tenant farmers, and groups who rely on seasonal agricultural labour.

The proposed programme is to increase productivity in the sector, and thereby support household incomes and livelihoods in rural communities.

The Punjab government will have its own agriculture policy to provide further strategic direction to agriculture policy, and increase percentage of allocation to agriculture in the annual development plan for high-value agriculture.

The SMART programme is destined to contribute to three result areas: increase on-farm productivity and value of agriculture and livestock, improve value-addition and competitiveness in agriculture and livestock, and make smallholders more resilient to climate change and natural disasters.

One objective of the project is to modernise the wheat marketing system by gradually withdrawing the provincial government from the wheat market and subsequently phasing out government wheat procurement, reducing the size of strategic grain reserves, and building modern storage facilities.

The programme will also provide agribusinesses with incentives to spur investment in value-addition and agricultural technology.

The provincial government plans to institute a financial support scheme for agribusiness through a system of matching grants. The contours of the scheme are being developed and it will incorporate special incentives to promote the participation of women-owned enterprises and firms working with small farmers.

The government will issue a notification of the ‘Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority Act’, which will allow greater private sector participation in agricultural marketing.

To improve safety of food for public consumption, a provincial reference food-testing laboratory will be established and operationalised together with a series of regional and mobile laboratories.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, November 27th, 2017