The overuse of antibiotics, 80 percent of which are foisted on factory farm animals, is a part of modern day antibiotic resistance. That is, an environment that allows surviving bacteria to mount a strong defense against antibiotics, making them useless against infection. Other factors like inattentive “sick care” contribute too – when antibiotics are handed out like cough drops or when lack of self-care leads to the constant request for them at the doctor’s office or ER.
In recent years, both patients and the medical community have been blamed for the influx of antibiotic resistance. This is unfair, when not only were these methods approved as safe, but also consider their comfortable use for so many decades. (And again, most antibiotics are used in farming.) So what could explain the unbreakable and aggressive new strains of bacteria?
Scientists now think that another unfortunate part of corporate industrial farming has led to the rapid and exponential increase of antibiotic resistance.
“Biocides” like herbicides are tested individually for their toxicity levels but not for where it counts, such as at their sublethal effects at the microbe level. Researchers from New Zealand and Mexico discovered that glyphosate (aka Monsanto’s Roundup), dicamba (Kamba, propietery to Monsanto), and 2,4-D play a role in antibiotic resistance. They tested their theory on e.coli and salmonella bacteria which cause potentially dangerous food poisoning and are sometimes found on factory farmed foods.
The bacteria were treated with common antibiotics like tetracycline, Ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, ampicillin and kanamycin. Most of the time, low levels of the herbicides created antibiotic resistance before the antibiotics had a chance to work. Their work was just published in mBio.
The researchers emphasize that the problem is on-farm, not in the food itself.
The effects found are relevant wherever people or animals are exposed to herbicides at the range of concentrations achieved where they are applied.
This may include, for example, farm animals and pollinators in rural areas and potentially children and pets in urban areas. The effects were detectable only at herbicide concentrations that were above currently allowed residue levels on food.
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Farmworkers, rodents and honeybees exposed to drifts were thought to be most at risk for the consequences. They have a hunch that the combination of the herbicides produces more deleterious effects.
New antibiotics are hard to find and can take decades to become available. Effects of chemicals such as herbicides could conflict with measures taken to slow the spread of antibiotic resistance.
2,4-D, infamous for its original intention of use in warfare and its actual use as an ingredient in Monsanto’s “Agent Orange” during Viet Nam – is used in many, many herbicide concoctions.
Last Fall, the government approved and registered Dow’s “Enlist Duo” maize, genetically engineered to withstand even stronger applications of herbicides (six states so far). This coincides with the approval of the Enlist Duo herbicide (glyphosate and 2,4-D) which was ironically created to combat glyphosate resistance. Likewise, Monsanto is applying for approval for new GE crops that will withstand its new concoction – glyphosate and dicamba.
These are just more examples of how regulatory agencies do not cater to the consumer, but rather protect corporate interests much to everyone’s degrading health. Aside from taking extra care of oneself, especially where diet is concerned, anyone reading this might also want to educate themselves with The Cornucopia’s “Gut-Wrenching”report on glyphosate. It’s an eye-opener for sure…
Image above shows a model of the benzylpenicillin in front of a petri-dish colonized by bacteria and one mold colony. The image has been taken from a short film on the mode of action of penicillin and on reasons for its decreasing efficiency at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSG06a2M5Uo.
This image below shows antibiotic resistance in action – the petri-dish on the right shows useless antibiotic pills surrounded by resistant bacteria:
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