Mycoherbicides

We were chatting with family about restarting our garden, but were told that many home gardeners in Central PA, have given up their gardens because of blight. And apparently there’s a belief that home gardens are being affected by government efforts to destroy marijuana crops. That’s getting into chemtrails territory, but I decided to do a bit of research.

When I searched for ‘tomato blight’, I found an Integrated Pest Management article blaming late blight – which was the non-human culprit in the so-called Irish potato famine – for recent tomato crop failures :

In 2009, airborne fungus late blight, which can spread through a garden or field in just a few days, decimated tomato crops in the Northeast. Some growers in the region reported total tomato crop loss. Scientists stepped up creation of blight-resistant tomato varieties, working with new urgency on research they had begun years before.

In addition to late blight, early blight and septoria leaf spot also threaten Northeastern tomato crops. Martha Mutschler of Cornell University stepped into the ring with a goal of knocking out this fungal triple threat. With a USDA Regional IPM Competitive Grant from the Northeastern IPM Center in her corner, Mutschler prepared to go the distance to combine the winning genetic characteristics for fungal resistance in tomato crops.

The industry answer, of course, is more genetically-modified hybrid crops. Just don’t ask them to list them as ingredients. Searching for ‘antimarijuana herbicides’ led to Cannabis Culture’s 2005 article, Drug warriors use ecocides & herbicide :

Indiana Republican Congressman Dan Burton … chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, has joined with rabid and doughy Indiana Congressional Republican Mark Souder, to push the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to quickly provide a scientific assessment that will lead to approval of widespread domestic and international use of killer fungi, applied as “mycoherbicides,” intended to eradicate marijuana, poppies and coca plants.

Burton’s prodding of the ONDCP is partially aimed at ramping up drug war fumigation programs to include more dangerous mycoherbicides such as Fusarium. …

Cannabis cultivation experts who’ve studied his proposal and the already-existing program of using biological warfare against cannabis, coca and poppies, say such fungi are impossible to control and target for one type of plant, and will invariably cause harm to other plants. These fungi can attach to other crops, lie dormant in soil for years, be spread by wind and contact, pose a danger to humans, and potentially eradicate all life forms in an affected area.

Plant diseases, sometimes referred to as fungi, rusts and molds, are already being used against cannabis and other illegal plants in these programs, sources say, noting that food farmers worldwide spend billions of dollars a year trying to defeat such pathogens, which often manifest as a plague that wipes out an entire region’s food crops within a few weeks. …

A 2007 strategy paper authored by representatives of half a dozen policy organizations discusses the risks of using mycoherbicides, including fusarium, for destruction of illegal crops (PDF) : Evaluating Mycoherbicides for Illicit Drug Crop Control: Rigorous Scientific Scrutiny is Crucial :

Some of the mycotoxins produced by Fusaria species, including Fusarium oxysporum can infect various grains and cereals, which can then be eaten by humans and animals. One epidemic involving a Fusarium species (containing some of the same mycotoxins as Fusarium oxysporum) occurred during the last years of WWII in the Soviet Union, when hundreds of thousands of people died after eating bread baked from with flour made from infected grains. More recently, in 1991, 31 babies were born with “anencephaly” (brainless) around the Rio Grande area of Texas. Their mothers had eaten mycotoxin-laden corn tortillas during pregnancy. Because of the dangers associated with mycotoxins, the FDA is charged with setting maximum levels for all known mycotoxins for both human and animal consumption. Grain that tests too high (over 2 parts per million [2ppm] for humans) is destroyed.

Because of the stability and toxicity of the Fusarium mycotoxins, especially a subgroup known as the “T2” toxins, these compounds have been weaponized. Although the T2 toxins are only one tenth as potent as the nerve gas Sarin and also less potent than the Ricin or Botulinum toxins, they are not easily broken down or made inactive. High concentrations of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite are required to detoxify them. (In the Soviet experience, these mycotoxins killed hundreds of thousands after surviving the heat of being baked into bread.)

Fusarium mycotoxins – or “Fusariotoxins,” as they are known – were found to be effective as aerosol-delivered weapons. Unlike many chemical warfare agents, they dissolve cell walls on contact, causing necrosis at any point of contact, such as skin, eyes and lungs.

So I can’t find any proof that anyone is dumping mycoherbicides, but they certainly considered it. And something happened near the Rio Grande.

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One response to “Mycoherbicides”

  1. trkingmomoe says :

    Don’t be afraid to garden. You can pick a couple of tomato plants like Better Boy or Early Girl that my mother used to plant that was resistive to blight. She always garden in Ohio and died 20 years ago. I saw the seeds still being offered for them. I have been growing heirloom tomatoes and have not seen any blight. But I am in a different climate. She would get a blight every year on her tomatoes and potatoes but knew how to treat them. If the seed was developed in the 60’s and 70’s then they are not over engineered. I am still learning new things and spend time on the internet looking for ideas. Your garden area may not be loaded with fungus. Raised beds can also be a solution. I just got information on my local CSA farm for the fall price share from Oct to end of May. It is a little over $600 for 26 weeks. You can sink that much into a garden easily. You might look up a local CSA on this site: http://www.localharvest.org/ Keep your garden small until you figure out what works.

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