DailyDirt: Growing Superfoods

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Humans have been modifying the genes of plant and animal life for hundreds of years -- using conventional breeding techniques. Maybe you don't like the food you eat to have had its genetic material bombarded by radiation to accelerate mutations, or you don't want genes from pigs in your orange juice. But how else are farmers going to keep growing crops at ever increasing yields... or to grow superfoods that are more nutritious or make us smarter, immune to disease and better looking? Here are just a few examples of biotechnology getting into our food supply. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    aquabounty salmon...

    I don't see the difference between creating a fish that produces its own growth hormone versus pumping fish full of growth hormones externally (when fish can be farmed). If you only want "organic" fish, then avoid fish with artificially added hormones.

    maybe there should be labeling for how much residual hormones are left in the fish?

     

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    Paraquat (profile), Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 7:25pm

    superfoods

    I think there is some misunderstanding of the objections to GMO crops. I know that some are just ideologically opposed to gene manipulation, but that's not the real problem with GMO. If we're just talking about adding a gene to a crop to improve its resistance to disease, or to make it produce more vitamins, that shouldn't cause problems.

    But GMO creators (notably Monsanto) have taken it much further. They have added genes so that you can, for example, spray the herbicide Round-Up (also manufactured by Monsanto) directly on crops. In the past, this was never done since it would kill the crops, not just weeds. I the past, you sprayed a field first, wanted for the weeds to die, and then planted. The result is that we get a much bigger dose of Round-Up in our food - the herbicide finds its way into every cell of the plant. And there is no doubt that this herbicide is poisonous to humans. Monsanto simply claims this is not a problem, and then doubles down by suing (successfully) farmers who refuse to use their GMO seeds.

    Then there is the case of modifying the genes of a crop so that it produces its own "pesticide." True, it's not a chemical pesticide, it's just a natural toxin. The effect on human health is similar to making a salad with non-edible plants. A company called Aventis Crop Sciences produced a GMO corn called StarLink, intended for use as animal feed but not for human consumption. Nevertheless, StarLink corn found its way into human food, causing a financially disastrous recall or food by Taco Bell:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taco_Bell_GMO_recall

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 12:44am

    Re: aquabounty salmon...

    or one could measure the hormone levels in the fish they buy?

    anyone who trust labels you is and idiot, if anyone trust anybody in fact they are idiots, one can trust their mother but always check.

    Trusting a label is like trusting the internet, it can be useful, but without a confirmation of some kind it can also be very risky.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 1:32am

    The thing I don't get, is why people spend billions trying to grow something that is so hard when you can get other plants that have already adapted to their conditions naturally.

    Take bamboo for example, it has almost no diseases that affects it, it grows anywhere and you can make, structural composites, paper, natural fibers for clothes, artificial fiber, plastic and many other uses in crafts.

    As for oranges that is bad I was thinking in trying out the pectin on the orange peels that you can extract by boiling it and using some form of alcohol(e.g. methanol, ethanol, isopropyl, butane, etc) to precipitate it from the solution as a gel pad for low cost EEG pad electrodes using crushed eggshells(calcium carbonate) or (sodium bicarbonate) as the "salt".

    Pectin

    As for the fish, well I rather eat artificial meat grow in a lab than that.

    But there are people that believe that populational pressures will make as look into other options like insects for proteins.

    http://www.urdesign.it/index.php/2013/07/30/farm-432-breeding-insects-to-eat-at-home

    http://nominateforindexaward.dk/Presentation/read/id=MTc0NA==

    http://www.theguardian.com/environ ment/2010/aug/01/insects-food-emissions

    Anybody wants termite bread?

     

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  5.  
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    AB, Aug 24th, 2013 @ 3:11pm

    Ouch! So the Chinese now have better civil rights protections then the USA. That's gotta sting.

     

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  6.  
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    Anon-Y-Mouse, Aug 25th, 2013 @ 10:22pm

    Better give up sweet corn.

    Sweet corn was made by irradiating regular corn and seeing what happened.

     

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  7.  
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    Mumfi., Aug 26th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: superfoods

    Monsanto does not sue farmers that refuse to sell their GMO seed! Monsanto sells non GMO seed to farmers who refuse their GMO seed. Or Sygenta does. Or they can save heritage seeds. No one is going to sue for that. If, on the other hand someone buys commodity seeds, both Monsantos and other mixed, then spray them with roudup to select Monsantos only and not pay royalty. Then they get sued. The trail was not even about what happened. It was to find out if the loophole was a loophole, as the farmer thought it was. He wanted GMO seeds; he didn't want to pay for GMO seeds.
    As to roundup being poisonous... Not very. And there are checks so no high levels are on the sold produce. Possibly this is not the best application for GMO. It is no worse than other stuff they spray plants with thought; Much better actually.

    BT-toxin is not poisonous in any way. To us it is a protein and we digest it as any other. On certain very specific insects it binds to receptors in the stomach and they die. We have no such receptors. It is not at all as eating non edible plants! Why should it? Only difference is that the plant contains negligible higher protein content... Plants themselves have much stranger protein then this. Only reason plants themselves have not gone this path is that it is simply not effective on an evolutionary scale. It is simply not an effective way of killing insects. If it weren't for planting practices resistance would evolve almost immediately.

     

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