Published: February 9, 2021

Category: Pesticide News

Can a small, almost undetectable change at lower levels of the food chain affect the chain at higher points? A recent study from the University of Birmingham, UK reported that even tiny amounts of the herbicide glyphosate can damage DNA in water fleas (Daphnia), a type of plankton key to the food chain of freshwater ecosystems.

The findings, published in Microbiome, also revealed embryonic development failure, metabolic function disruption, and harm to gut bacteria and protozoa.

Lead researcher Dr. Luisa Orsini said industry reports claiming glyphosate’s harmlessness contradict the recurring disease claims. Much of the evidence relies on older toxicity tests based on extremely high exposure, missing pathological effects stemming from long-term exposure to low doses, she said. “We are not the only and will not be the last to show that Roundup is not safe.”

Impacts on daphnia can serve as a model to track effects across species—including humans; the chemical reactions affecting daphnia are molecular, constant across the human species.

Research on other environmental chemicals can also use this same “systems biology” approach, to assess changes found in fundamental functions such as sugar metabolism.

Source: University of Birmingham

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights February 2021