Monsanto Glyphosate Contributes to Bee Population Reduction
Monsanto Glyphosate Contributes to Bee Population Reduction

Glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide for weed control, has raised serious concerns for decades about the potential threat of its use to human, animal and environmental health.

In August, a US court ordered biotech corporation Monsanto to pay $ 289 million to a gardener who claimed he had cancer from glyphosate-containing weed-killers, including Roundup.

New concerns about glyphosate sparked a September article in the journal of the US National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It argues that glyphosate can indirectly cause the death of honeybees around the world, which could have an impact on the global economy.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin concluded that bees are exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. As a result, bees lose important bacteria in their intestines, become more susceptible to infection, and die from harmful bacteria.

As noted in the article, glyphosate can be seen as contributing to the rapid decline in bee populations around the world.

"We need better guidance on the use of glyphosate, especially with regard to effects on bees, because the current guidance suggests that bees are not suffering from herbicides," notes study author Eric Motta. "Our study shows that this is not the case."

Glyphosate inhibits an enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals. In this regard, the herbicide has long been considered harmless to humans and animals, according to the website of the University of Texas at Austin.

Researchers exposed honey bees to glyphosate levels commonly found on farms. Three days later, these bees were found to have undergone a significant loss of bacteria in their intestines and become more susceptible to infection and vulnerable to death from harmful bacteria.

"Studies in humans, bees and other animals have shown that the gut flora is a stable community that resists infection," said co-author Professor Nancy Moran.

Recently, American beekeepers have reported colony collapse syndrome, a phenomenon characterized by the one-time and irreversible leaving of the hive by a family of honey bees.

The massive exodus of bees leaves farms with fewer crop pollinators. Colony collapse syndrome has been attributed to exposure to pesticides or antibiotics, habitat loss, and bacterial infections. The latest research adds herbicides to the list of possible causes of this phenomenon.

"It's not the only thing that causes the death of bees, but it is definitely something that people should be concerned about because glyphosate is used everywhere," says Motta.

Any drastic changes in the global population of bees could affect the meat and dairy industries. Bees pollinate plants that are used as forage crops. As the population of bees decreases, the cost of raw materials increases. This drives up the price of beef and ultimately hurts consumers.

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