6 December 2000

Table of Contents

The Lurid Soil Bacterium Klebsiella planticola
URLs about Honey, Weeds and Bees!
URL to good scientific critique of GM
Canola Oil food or ? (on Fats and Health)
The Guardian on 'contrite' Monsanto
EU: Soya trade war expected between EU and US following meat and bone meal ban
Learning How To Amplify Genes
Monsanto plant defensins
Substantial Equivalence Not At All
Re: Substantial Equivalence (Aflatoxins)
Patent on amimals with human body parts
Panel Says StarLink May Have Triggered Allergies

Top NextFront Page

Date: 30 Nov 2000 03:18:30 U
From: Robert Mann

With the help of the scientist in charge of the work, I have just compiled this account of the under-rated case of the lurid soil bacterium, to depose with our Royal Commission on GM.

The Lurid Soil Bacterium Klebsiella planticola

By Prof. R. Mann

Klebsiella planticola, a common soil bacterium, was genetically engineered by a German research institute to make ethanol for industrial purposes. The inventors had planned a recycling system: farmers would give them agricultural slash, which would be used for the bacterial fermentation; the resulting ethanol would be separated out, and the sludge could be given back to the farmers to spread on their fields as fertilizer. It all sounded very good for the environment, but how much soil ecologists impinged on the planning is unclear.

Dr Elaine Ingham of Oregon State University and her graduate student M.T. Holmes discovered to their alarm that soils containing the engineered organism killed wheat seedlings, most likely through alcohol production in the root system, which kills roots at very low concentrations. Mycorrhizal fungi were also killed.

Had the engineered sludges been returned to farmers, it would have drastically degraded their soil, rendering them unable to grow many or all plants. Since K. planticola is a ubiquitous organism, found in the root systems of plants all over the world, the GM mutant could have spread and made ALL soil unable to support crops! Microorganisms are easily spread on surfaces of insects, on the feet of birds, on people's feet, etc; this engineered bacterium could have spread world-wide quite rapidly.

Luckily Dr. Ingham and her student did the work before commercialization and were able to warn the company, who didn't commercialize it.

The references are:

Dr. Ingham can be reached at:

The story really shows the awesome power of genetic engineering, the multidisciplinary nature of the review it requires, and the folly of releasing GM microbes before very extensive contained studies.

It is an intriguing fluke that this K. planticola fiasco is reminiscent of one of the very first GM microbes, New Zealand's own bold 'nitrogen-fixing mycorrhiza'. A dozen pine seedlings in the preliminary pot-trial died, and the transgenic fungus, derived from one which had been normally ectomycorrhizal, was found at autopsy to have invaded pine root cells.

This caper was written up to some extent:

Two decades on, how much has been learned?


Robt Mann, consultant ecologist, P O Box 28878 Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand, (9) 524 2949

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 00:17:32 U
From: ThePiedPiper

URLs about Honey, Weeds and Bees!

from Natural Processing – Honey

Tansy Ragwort (a weed) – and honey [Department of Natural Resources Water and Land Resources Division King County, WASH] --

Tansy Ragwort in British Columbia -- -- "Tansy ragwort contains at least six pyrrolizidine alkaloids which by themselves are not toxic. When combined with liver enzymes after ingestion they are converted to pyrroles which result in liver dysfunction and sometimes death."

Diversity Of Flowering Plants; Flowering Plants Have Literally Colonized The Continents And Islands Of The Earth – ref: pollination of red clover

Bee's Health – investigate resistance to tracheal mite Tracheal mite, African bee and more.

Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food on Bee health --

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 30 Nov 2000 14:51:24 U
From: Robert Mann

URL to good scientific critique of GM

This (200K) PDF file contains some of the best general scientific criticism of GM I've ever seen, by Assoc Prof Peter Wills: (It also contains extensive racist waffling which I advise you to ignore.)

The page of evidence texts at the Royal Commission website also includes some very sensible advocacy of keeping NZ agriculture GE-free for economic reasons, e.g. from Zespri International Ltd. (the main Chinese gooseberry exporter).


Robt Mann, consultant ecologist, P O Box 28878 Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand, (9) 524 2949

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 00:23:19 U
From: ThePiedPiper

Canola Oil food or ? (on Fats and Health)

About Canola and Rape
An Alternative Theory on the Cause Of B.S.E.
Brain Fat
Canola and the myelin sheath

About Canola and Rape

Enig, Mary Eramus, Udo. "Fats That Heal And Fats That Kill" Comp. Bradley, Darleen. 1999. 17 Apr. 99

Udo Erasmus "Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill" "Since first publication of his book in 1986 under the title Fats and Oils, Udo Erasmus has become an internationally recognized authority on the subject of fats and oils. His academic credentials include two years of post graduate studies in genetics and biochemistry and a PHD in Nutrition."

"Rats developed fatty degeneration of heart, kidney, adrenals, and thyroid gland. When canola oil was withdrawn from their diets, the deposits dissolved but scar tissue remained on all vital organs.

No studies on humans were made before money was spent to promote Canola oil in the USA.

Even after the processing to reduce the erucic acid content, it is still a penetrating oil.

We have found that it turns rancid very fast. Also it leaves a residual rancid odor on clothing."

National, State, and Local Resources for Support & Information Brain Fat / Assets

Widely used in Great Britain animal feed from 1986 till 1991 when the Rape oil was discontinued.

The Health Effects Of Canola Oil – None Dare Call It Rape By Don Harkins for the SPOTLIGHT

From the Idaho Observer 5-99 12-13-99 Canola is a name that recently appeared in the marketplace and is apparently derived from Canadian-oil. Canola oil is actually produced from the rape seed plant.

Rape (Brassica napus), a member of the mustard family, is listed in the Encyclopedia Britannica as a poisonous plant with toxic effects which include pulmonary emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability and blindness in cattle.

According to John Thomas, author of Young Again: How to Reverse the Aging Process, The name canola disguised the introduction of rape oil to America.

Beware of Canola Oil, Canola Oil is an Industrial Oil, Not Fit For Human Consumption.

An Alternative Theory on the Cause Of B.S.E. Corporate Watch n Animal Feed and Genetic Engineering The industry has been hit both by the crisis in British livestock farming and by the continuing scrutiny of the BSE Inquiry.

Enig, Mary G. "Trans Fat" 12 May 1999

Brain Fat Your brain needs essential fatty acids to perform a number of critical biological functions. Your brain is 60% fat. In a healthy brain Omega-3 is the most

Scientists Closing In On How Increased Alzheimer's Risk Is Linked To Fat CHICAGO, IL. – October 27, 1997 the fact the brain is 70 percent fat.

Improve Your Mood with Food "Levels of omega-3s were 40% lower in patients with depression, on average. (Biological Psychiatry, Mar 1, 1998)."

High-Fat Diet Protects Brain After Stroke A Western diet, containing animal fat and protein, may help prevent loss of cognitive functioning and mental ability following a stroke. Last modified on: 20-Aug-1999

Zone Talk 37 Date: 10 Nov 1998 "Your brain consists largely of fat".....Say what?!!!!! this article is good, except that it advocates Canola

check out the links on my chemical page in reference to other things that Canola has – that are not good

Canola and the myelin sheath

Some speculate on the actual or potential effects of ELF and RF/MW radiation such as microwaves, wireless cell phones and computers. There seems to be studies that show these things to be detrimental to the neurological system causing accelerated aging (enhanced cell death and cancer), moods, depression, suicide, anger, rage and violence. I do not have an opinion on microwaves but these studies seem to show something could be happening to people that have enough money, need, and / or the knowledge to use cell phones.

It would seem that these people could also be knowledgeable enough to be health conscious, if they are health conscious and use Canola Oil which is a known to cause neurological problems – it strips the myelin sheath off of the (neuron's) axon. Brain cells are known as axons, and stripping the myelin sheath off of them causes them to short circuit as well as the potential of other problems. Other items that can cause problems or cancer are MSG, Bovine Growth Hormone, food colorings and sugar. Top

Mary Unig has some extremely good articles about fats.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 09:52:10 U

The Guardian on 'contrite' Monsanto

Contrite GM firm pledges to turn over a new leaf

By John Vidal, Guardian, Friday December 1, 2000,4273,4098923,00.....

Five years ago, Monsanto planned to flood the world with GM crops and reap the profits. Three years ago it received a bloody nose in Europe and had to apologise to the British for misunderstanding their hostility.

Now, in a feast of humble pie, the world's leading biotech company has admitted to the world that it has been arrogant, blind and insensitive and has formally pledged to be "honourable, ethical and open" in all its future actions.

The new Monsanto, said the corporation's president and chief executive Hendrik Verfaillie, is now outwardly very different to the one which promised to be part of the solution to world hunger and environmental problems only five years ago.

Instead of trumpeting "faith, hope and prosperity", the genetically modified line is now that biotechnology is a way to improve human health and that Monsanto is contrite, listening and leading world business into an ethical age.

"Even our friends told us we could be arrogant and insensitive," said Mr Verfaillie of the company, which has merged with the pharmaceutical giants Pharmacia and Upjohn.

"We were blinded by our enthusiasm," he told a Washington audience this week. "We missed the fact that this technology raises major issues for people – of ethics, of choice, of trust, even of democracy and globalisation. When we tried to explain the benefits, the science and the safety, we did not understand that our tone – our very approach – was arrogant."

Mr Verfaillie said he believed biotechnology was now "at a watershed" and that society everywhere had changed.

"The shift that started 40 years ago is approaching maturity," he said. "It is a movement from a 'trust me' society to a 'show me' society. We don't trust government – and thus government rulemaking and regulation is suspect. We don't trust companies – or the new technologies they introduce into the marketplace. We were still in the 'trust me' mode when the expectation was 'show me'."

From now on, he said, the new Monsanto would be ethical and to prove it it had published a five-point pledge of new commitments which were, he said, unprecedented in the biotechnology industry.

"We commit to respecting the religious, cultural and ethical concerns of people," said Mr Verfaillie. "[Monsanto] will not sell grain products until they have been approved for consumption by both humans and animals; nor will [Monsanto] use genes taken from animal or human sources in our agricultural products intended for food or feed, or sell foods in which known allergens have been introduced." And he promised not to pursue technologies that resulted in sterile, or so-called terminator, seeds.

The company has been criticised for imposing GM farming on poor countries. No longer. The new Monsanto will, according to its chief, "bring the knowledge and advantages of all forms of agriculture to resource-poor farmers in the developing world to help improve food security and protect the environment".

To those who accuse Monsanto of having consistently evaded government regulations, he promised to work legally, probably a first in corporate history.

In response to critics who have alleged the company is secretive about sharing its research, he said it would now publish all scientific data and data summaries on product safety.

Yesterday the company's many critics around the world were congratulating it on its pledges but were mostly hoping it would pledge to go away.

"Sweet isn't it," said a Friends of the Earth spokesman. "Here's a company with its back to the wall and its technology going down the tube. We welcome its pledges but it must face up to the fact that people do not want its food."

"We have read the commitments," said an Indian anti-GM activist who has been marching with many thousands of small farmers against Monsanto and other giant companies. "They are very fine. But a tiger is not a pussy cat. If it has large whiskers it is probably still a tiger with a plan to gobble you up even faster."

Monsanto, said its chief, had set up "a dedicated team to facilitate its pledges and share its GM technology with public institutions, charities and industry round the world".

Yesterday the Guardian asked the Monsanto HQ switchboard to be put through to one of the team. The call was met with an answering machine.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 11:25:39 U

EU: Soya trade war expected between EU and US following meat and bone meal ban

Source: editorial team 1 Dec 2000

Speculation is rife that the measures put in place by the European Commission on Wednesday (29 November) to limit the spread of BSE are about to prompt a large-scale trade war across the Atlantic.

A EU ban on the use of meat and bone meal in animal feed will mean that farmers use a soya substitute to replace the nutrition provided by meat and, when international curbs on soya production come down in mid-2002 according to the Blair House agreement, an ensuing trade dispute is now widely expected.

The EU farms commissioner, Franz Fischler, argued that the results of a meat and bonemeal prohibition have been over-dramatised: "It should be possible to mobilise the additional quantities of soya or other meals needed on the market. Further measures to make this production more attractive could be explored."

Another Commission official explained that trade restrictions will become irrelevant if the subsidies paid for oil seeds (and soya) are made the same as those for cereals from mid-2002.

The US is tipped to challenge the EU through the WTO however, if subsidised production is increased from 5m hectares.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 22:55:59 U
From: joe

Learning How To Amplify Genes

Plant genes have been identified that amplify adjacent (cis or on the same DNA strand) genes such as transgenes for herbicide tolerance. Gene amplification is associated with resistance to cancer treatment drugs or insecticides in pests. Amplification of transgenes is well known to take place in plants but usually the added gene copies are turned off in the cell nucleus. Amplification of genes without turning off extra copies is an interesting trick. However, recombination may spread the aps and cause elevated production of toxins present in most crops at low levels to fight insect pests. Amplification of celery toxins enhanced insect resistance but also caused skin problems and cancer in mammals.

Nature Biotechnology December 2000 Volume 18 Number 12 pp 1303 – 1306

Tobacco ribosomal DNA spacer element stimulates amplification and expression of heterologous genes

Nikolai Borisjuk12, Ludmyla Borisjuk2, 3, Slavko Komarnytsky1, Sofia Timeva1, Vera Hemleben4, Yuri Gleba5 & Ilya Raskin1

  1. Biotech Center, Foran Hall, Cook College, Rutgers University , 59 Dudley Rd., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520, USA.
  2. Phytomedics Inc., 2245 Route 130, Suite 103, Dayton, NJ 08810, USA.
  3. Present address: Institute of Plant Genetics, Correns Str. 3, Gatersleben D-06466, Germany.
  4. Center of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Tuebingen , Auf der Morgenstelle 28, Tuebingen D-72076 Germany.
  5. Institute of Cell Biology and Genetic Engineering, Zabolotnogo St., 148, Kyiv, DSP-22, 252650, Ukraine .
Correspondence should be addressed to I Raskin. e-mail: raskin@AESOP.RUTGERS.EDU

Here we show that the cis-acting genetic element aps (amplification-promoting sequence), isolated from the nontranscribed spacer region of tobacco ribosomal DNA (rDNA), increases the level of expression of recombinant proteins. Transgenic tobacco plants, transformed with expression cassettes containing the herbicide-resistant acetolactate synthase (hr-ALS) gene or the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene fused to the aps sequence, had greater levels of corresponding messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and proteins compared to transformants lacking aps. Analysis of transgenic plants showed that aps increased the copy number and transcription of the adjacent heterologous genes and, in the case of hr-ALS, enhanced the herbicide resistance phenotype. Both the increased transgene copy number and enhanced expression were stably inherited. These data provide the first evidence that the aps sequence can be used for gene amplification in transgenic plants and possibly other multicellular organisms.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 23:07:05 U
From: joe

Monsanto plant defensins

The paper below is an interesting effort from Monsanto. Plant defensins are potentially valuable weapons against pests. However, it is essential that the defensin peptides be tested adequately for allergenicity and toxicity in mammals particularly cancer and birth defects.Elevated defensins are not substantially equivalent.

Nature Biotechnology December 2000 Volume 18 Number 12 pp 1307 – 1310

Fungal pathogen protection in potato by expression of a plant defensin peptide

Ai-Guo Gao1, 2, Salim M. Hakimi1, 2, Cindy A. Mittanck1, 2, Yonnie Wu1, 2, B. Mark Woerner1, David M. Stark1, Dilip M. Shah1, Jihong Liang1 & Caius M.T. Rommens1

1. Monsanto Company, 700 Chesterfield Parkway , St. Louis, MO 63198.
2. These authors contributed equally to the work.

Correspondence should be addressed to J Liang. e-mail:

Defensins are small cysteine-rich peptides with antimicrobial activity. We demonstrate that the alfalfa antifungal peptide (alfAFP) defensin isolated from seeds of Medicago sativa displays strong activity against the agronomically important fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae. Expression of the alfAFP peptide in transgenic potato plants provides robust resistance in the greenhouse. Importantly, this resistance is maintained under field conditions. There have been no previous demonstrations of a single transgene imparting a disease resistance phenotype that is at least equivalent to those achieved through current practices using fumigants.

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 1 Dec 2000 23:10:04 U
From: joe

Substantial Equivalence Not At All

Molec. Microbiol. 38, 658 (2000).

The article below is a good example of the primary defect in the concept 'substantial equivalence" used to approve GM crops. Government agencies will call new GM crop substantially equivalent "unaware" that the gene changes led to toxin production.

Many disease-causing filamentous fungi of plants and animals produce toxins, notorious among these is aflatoxin, which can cause liver cancer in people and livestock who have eaten affected nuts and seeds. This intractable agricultural problem urgently requires control.

While investigating how aflatoxin production is regulated, Tag et al. discovered that a cellular signaling protein FadA, a heterotrimeric G protein, inhibited the production of aflatoxin and other carcinogens in these fungi, as well as suppressing spore formation. Nevertheless, although aflatoxin production was suppressed, penicillin production was stimulated. In some instances this kind of response might be valuable, but stimulating antibiotic release into the environment may cause other problems. Furthermore, increased antibiotic production was accompanied by a general shift in the production of other metabolites, including other potent toxins. Thus any strategy that targets G-proteins in pathogens in order to control one toxin could lead to the accidental production of an alternative poison. – CA

Molec. Microbiol. 38, 658 (2000).

Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 2 Dec 2000 03:45:44 U

Re: Substantial Equivalence (Aflatoxins)

One problem with Modern Biotechnologists is that most of them are completely ignorant of what already is possible with Classical biotechnology. A good way to reduce (afla)toxins and other antinutritional compounds in crops is by Fermentation. See: gives the full story. The three references below are also mentioned there.

  1. Reddy N.R., Pierson M.D Reduction in antinutritional and toxic components in plant foods by fermentation Food Research International 1994 27:281

  2. Nout M. Fermented foods and food safety Food Reseach International 1994 27:291

  3. Nakazato M. Interconversion of aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxicol by several fungi Applied Envir. Microbiology 56:1465

There are more studies that go back to the late seventies.


Top PreviousNextFront Page

Date: 3 Dec 2000 15:04:14 U
From: Paul & Katrin Davis

there is probaly a patent for human/animal plants out there somewhere!!!!

Patent on amimals with human body parts

By Antony Barnett, public affairs editor
The Observer, Sunday November 26, 2000
Special Report: The Ethics Of Genetics

A biotech company has taken out a Europe-wide patent on a process which campaigners claim would allow 'chimeric' animals to be developed with body parts originating from humans.

An Australian company, Amrad, was granted the patent last year, which covers embryos containing cells both from humans and from 'mice, sheep, pigs, cattle, goats or fish'.

Church groups have already reacted with outrage, denouncing the patent as 'morally offensive'.

Details in the patent do not make it clear what use these mixed-species embryos would be put to, but experts are in no doubt that the potential is there to create a hybrid creature.

Dr Sue Mayer, director of Genewatch, said: 'The company is saying that it wants a patent on a process which could produce chimeric animals using cells from a whole range of species including humans.

Many people will find the thought abhorrent.'

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: 'To patent a process where human life is used as a kind of bank to deposit into animals is morally indefensible.'

Dr Donald Bruce, a spokesman for European churches on bioethics, said: 'This patent should never have been passed. If people are talking about using human cells in animals, that is completely unacceptable.'

Last month the European Patent Office claimed it would never grant a patent on mixed-species embryos as they are considered against 'public order and morality'. But this patent, discovered by a researcher in Greenpeace's German office, was taken out in January 1999 and has since been sold to US company Chemicon International.

Thomas Schweiger of Greenpeace called on the European Patent Office to withdraw it. He said: 'The chimeras may be non-human but they may contain human organs, body parts, nerve cells and even human genetic codes. The company does not give concrete medical uses and obviously intended to give the company broad monopoly rights on the process and chimeric creatures.'

Schweiger believes that one possible use might be to grow human organs in animals for transplantation.

According to the patent the chimera-creating process starts by isolating a special hormone, the objective of which is to stimulate the growth of embryonic cells; known as stem cells. These stem cells are the 'master cells' which could in theory be used to produce virtually any type of replacement tissue for a damaged body.

Amrad chief executive John Grace denied his company had ever conducted research in this field and said the patent would not be used to create animals with human cells. He said the process was mainly used to produce genetically engineered mice for research.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2000

Top PreviousFront Page

Date: 5 Dec 2000 18:07:35 U

Panel Says StarLink May Have Triggered Allergies

Reuters | | AP, Tuesday December 5

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An independent panel of U.S. scientists told the government Tuesday that a variety of biotech corn not approved for human food may have triggered allergic reactions in 7 to 14 Americans.

The panel said in a report to the Environmental Protection Agency that more study was needed to pinpoint whether StarLink bio-corn was the cause of the allergic reactions reported by those people, or if another substance might be to blame. here is agreement that a number of these reports are likely to the he panel believes that this group of 7 to 14 individuals represents a real opportunity to determine (if the unique protein in that much more StarLink corn would contaminate the U.S. food supply, now that seed maker Aventis SA had withdrawn the corn variety from the market.

The EPA-appointed panel also said its analysis of the amount of StarLink corn that accidentally contaminated the U.S. food supply – combined with a look at how much corn most Americans of people having allergic reactions. The EPA will use the science panel's report to help determine if the agency will grant temporary approval for StarLink in the human food supply.