Story About Agriculture and Environment

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Location: Bekasi, Jawa Barat, Indonesia

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pesticides Cause Parkinson's Disease

( A new study just found that Parkinson's disease is linked to pesticide exposure. In fact, the study participants were almost twice as likely to have been exposed to pesticides through their work, and exposure to certain pesticides may have increased the chance of having the disease by more than three-fold. The study looked only at pesticide exposure from work environments and didn't look at pesticides used in home pest control, backyard gardening or our foods.

The study concluded that there is growing evidence for a causal relationship between pesticide exposure and Parkinson's disease, meaning there is growing evidence that pesticides cause Parkinson's disease. However, it's a bit odd that we need a study to tell us this because researchers regularly create Parkinson's disease in lab animals by injecting the animals with chemical pesticides.

When you understand this, the cause of the disease is rather immediately clear, although many in the medical field say that the cause is unknown. Actually, injecting animals with pesticides and other common chemicals is exactly how researchers create many of the diseases they need to test the effects of pharmaceutical drugs. How else are they going to get a hundred rats at the same time, all with Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease. It's the result of brain degeneration, so make a mental note that pesticides literally cause your brain to degenerate. Then, while you still can, think about whether organic foods make the most sense. And consider if there are non-chemical options for home, garden and workplace pest control.

Even more disturbing, it would be extremely unlikely if you didn't have several different pesticides in your blood at this very moment. Even newborns are born with pesticides in their bodies these days, which gives them sort of a rotten shake in a world where we need fully functioning brains to survive and prosper.

Parkinson's disease appears when people have lost about 80 percent of their ability to produce dopamine, an essential brain chemical. Symptoms of the disease include shaking, tremors, poor balance and difficulty walking.

Parkinson's disease is the disease Michael J. Fox made famous, and questions that might be rolling around in many minds are: Did Michael eat organic foods or did he think the conventional stuff wasn't that bad and ate foods with pesticide residue on them? Or, did Michael ever have his home sprayed or tented for any sort of bugs, or ever live in a home that had been previously tented? And perhaps, were pesticides sprayed regularly around Michael's home, as they are around many homes and offices?

Now we know that pesticides cause our brains to degenerate. The only question is: Why are farmers still spraying them on our food and then making the claim that it's safe for consumption?

Pesticides Cause Childhood Brain Cancers

( Children living with parents who use pesticides around the home are significantly more likely to develop brain cancer than children who are not exposed to such chemicals, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Researchers matched each of 400 fathers and 250 mothers who reported having been exposed to pesticide products -- including insecticide, herbicide and fungicide -- with a non-exposed person of the same sex, age and status. All participants lived in residential areas of Florida, New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania. None of them lived in New York City. All were parents of children who had participated in the Atlantic Coast childhood brain cancer study.

The scientists further evaluated each participant's level of exposure over the two years prior to the birth of their child by means of a phone interview featuring more detailed questions about home or work use of pesticides. Most "exposed" participants were exposed to pesticides through home use -- such as garden or lawn care -- rather than professionally.

The researchers found that children whose parents had been exposed to pesticides were significantly more likely to develop brain cancers, including astrocytomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors. The risk of astrocytoma was especially increased by the use of herbicides.

Among "exposed" fathers, those who wore protective clothing or who washed immediately after pesticide use were significantly less likely to have children who developed brain cancer.

Prior studies have linked prenatal pesticide exposure to brain cancer, and the chemicals have also been linked to cancer in a number of animal studies. Researchers do not know exactly how the chemicals lead to cancer, but many pesticides are known to exhibit mutagenic, hormone mimicking or immune-hampering effects. The developing bodies of fetuses and children are especially susceptible to these effects.

Brain cancer is the second most common childhood cancer, after leukemia

Anthurium Harvesting And Pre-Harvest Handling Methods

Maximum possible care is to be taken at the harvesting and post-harvest storage of the flowers to increase their vase life.

A. Harvesting of Anthurium
Anthuriums are generally harvested when the spadix is almost fully developed. Flowers picked too early wilt quickly. Development of true flowers on spadix is also used as a criterion for determining the harvest stage. In Hawaii, growers normally harvest anthurium when one-third of the true flowers on spadix are fully developed.

B. Packaging of Anthurium
The flower stems are placed in lukewarm water (38°C) after the harvest and allowed to stand overnight prior to shipment. They should properly be graded according to the colour, stem length and sizes of spathes and spadices. There are several methods for packing cut flowers. In recent past, methods such as packing the flowers in plastic bags before placing in cartons or dipping the spadix in melted paraffin to reduce moisture loss are also very popular. The flower stems can also be placed in flasks containing water which are packed in moist boxes and soft protective material is put in between spathe and spadix. Foam plastic supports are provided in the box and flowers are secured carefully with tape. The most commonly used box sizes for packing anthurium flowers are 21.6 x 50.8 x 91.4 cm or 27.9 x 43.2 x 101.6 cm which can accommodate at least 10 dozen flowers. Lining of cartons with polythene sheet and moist paper insulation are necessary to maintain proper humidity as well as to prevent injuries to the flowers.

C. Storage of Anthurium
Anthuriums can easily be stored at 13°C for 2 to 3 weeks and will last 2-4 weeks in an arrangement. Exposure of flowers to temperatures below 13°C causes the red flowers to turn blue; dark red flowers being most susceptible. Individual flowers shows a great difference in response to temperature, some not turning blue even at 5°centigrades. If refrigeration facilities are not available, storage in 2-10% O2 (oxygen) can be used advantageously at ambient temperatures of 24-250 centigrade.
D. Vase-life of Anthurium
The keeping quality of the flowers increases as they develop and is maximum when 3/4th of the length of the spadix has changed its colour. Large and medium sized flowers keep better than small and miniature ones. The flowers kept best at 560 F or 13.00 centigrades. Pre-cooling or short refrigeration period does not extend the total life of the flowers. Similarly, the degree of shade under which the plants are grown will not affect flower keeping quality. Vase-life is the longest in the flowers, cut if they are when the spadix is almost completely white. When flowers are cut at this stage the flowers remain fresh for 21.5 and 25.2 days on an average in water and summer respectively.

Various commercial preservatives (floral life, ever bloom, rose life), and chemicals and beverages (sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, glucose, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, 7-Up etc.) can be used to prolong the shelf-life of anthurium flowers.. A pre-shipping dip of flower stems it} solutions of 2.25% 7-Up (a carbonated beverage), 500 ppm benzoic acid or 7.3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite remarkably extends the vase-life of flowers. Treatment with benzyladenine reduces the respiration rate of flowers and imparts some tolerance to chilling and extends the saleable period. Dipping of flower stems for 10-60 minutes in 4 mm silver nitrate solution (within 12 hours of harvest) also extends the vase-life by 40- 60%. The use of wax for extending post-harvest vase-life of flowers has also been suggested. FMC-819 carnanba -based wax is most effective in increasing the vase-life from 18 days 36 days and imparting a high gloss.
Various commercial preservatives (floral life, ever bloom, rose life), and chemicals and beverages (sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, glucose, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, 7-Up etc.) can be used to prolong the shelf-life of anthurium flowers.. A pre-shipping dip of flower stems it} solutions of 2.25% 7-Up (a carbonated beverage), 500 ppm benzoic acid or 7.3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite remarkably extends the vase-life of flowers.

Treatment with benzyladenine reduces the respiration rate of flowers and imparts some tolerance to chilling and extends the saleable period. Dipping of flower stems for 10-60 minutes in 4 mm silver nitrate solution (within 12 hours of harvest) also extends the vase-life by 40- 60%. The use of wax for extending post-harvest vase-life of flowers has also been suggested. FMC-819 carnanba -based wax is most effective in increasing the vase-life from 18 days 36 days and imparting a high gloss (

Anthurium Diseases and Pests Attack

A large number of diseases and pests attack the plants damaging flower production and quality of the flowers.

A. Diseases
Fungi, bacteria and viruses sometimes attack the plants producing serious diseases.

1. Fungal Diseases in Anthurium
The major fungi attacking plants were colletotrichum, Pythium spp.

a. Anthracnose
Collectotrichum gleosporioides is the causal organism of this disease. It is the most damaging diseases of anthuriums. Also known as spadix rot or black nose, it is a problem in high rainfall areas. Spadices are damaged and flowers become unsuitable for commercial purpose.

Control of Anthracnose

Spray Maneb @ 2lb/l00 gal and Dodine or Dyrene @ 1 Ib/l00 gal gives good control of the disease. It is suggested that application should be made at 2 -week intef'7al and a sticker should be used. Certain cultivars like Marian seefurth, Uniwai and Manoa Mist are reported to be resistant to the pathogen.

b. Root rot
Pythium splendens is the causal organism of this disease. It attacks-the root of Anthurium andreanum, and often causes serious losses, especially during rainy season.
Control of Root rot in anthuriums
The disease can be controlled by a soil application of PCNB (quintozene) @ 80 ounce 150 gal water.

c. Leaf spot in Anthurium
Septaria anthurium and S. minima are the causal organisms for the leaf spot disease. A non-parasitic leaf spotting may occur under unfavourable cultural conditions.

Control of leaf spot in anthurium
The disease can be controlled by sprays of Carbileen (Zineb) @ 30 g 1100 Iitres of water, repeated at interval of 2-3 weeks. Among the several fungicides tested in vitro under different conditions of temperature and humidity, Oxyquinoline sulphate gives best control of S. minima.

2. Bacterial disease
Xanthomonas compestris poses a considerable threat to the commercial anthurium growers because of systemic infection.

Control of bacterial disease
Strict sanitation measures, the removal of affected leaves and spraying with Streptomycin sulphite or Oxytetracycline. are recommended. The bacterium appears to be resistant to copper based preparations, and those can also be phytotoxic to anthuriums.

3. Viral disease in Anthurium
Mosaic and malformation of leaves and spathes are observed in different anthurium cultivars in commercial nurseries. Up to 20% infection can be observed in pink and red cultivars and 94% in white cultivars. The virus could be transmitted by Bemisia tabaci and possibly also by grafting a piece of infected leaf onto the stem.

B. Pests attacking Anthurium
Though pests are not a problem in anthurium cultivation, insects like aphids, scales, thrips and spider mites are found to attack the plants and cause considerable damage.

1. Aphids
These insects suck (Aphids) the plant's sap, causing yellowing and distortion of leaves and poor growth. They secrete a sticky sugary substance called 'honey dew' upon which a black mould often grows. The mould not only looks very unsightly but interferes with the leaves as well.
Control aphids attack
Systemic insecticides containing Dimethioate and malathion (0.2%) effectively controls the aphids. A formulation containing Pyrethrum extract gives complete control of Myzus circumflexus on A. scherzerianum plants in the green house, without phytotoxicity.

2. Scale insects
Scale insects infest stems and leaves, suck the sap and weaken the plants.

Control of scale insects in Anthurium
Wiping the insect off the plants with a cotton-wool swab soaked in methylated spirit or spray with 0.2% malathion work well against these insects.

3. Spider mites
These minute mites cause yellowish mottling of the leaves which may become brown and shrivel. A fine white web spun on the underside of leaves is another sign.

Control of spider mites in Anthurium
Spraying of affected plants with 0.2% malathion or kelthane (8 ml in 10 I of water) is found to be very effective to control the mites.

4. Thrips
Thrips suck the sap from leaves and cause a mottled effect on foliage and flowers.

Control of Thrips in Anthurium
The control measures are similar to those of aphids and scale insects.

Different Anthurium Cultivation Practices

The various cultivation practices for growing anthurium are discussed here.

A. Greenhouse Cultivation
Construction of suitable greenhouse to provide ideal growing environment including light, temperature, etc., is very essential for commercial production of anthuriums. Flower productivity is ideal in a house with whitewash on the roof, roof sprayers and crop sprinklers and movable external screens.

B. Potting and planting
Potting is an essential operation for anthuriums. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, when cuttings bears fully developed roots and shoots or offshoots are ready for division, they should be moved into pots. Care should be taken that pots are of suitable sizes. Potting may be done fairly firmly when using loam-based composts, firming with fingers, but peat-based composts should be only lightly firmed and watered to settle the compost. Peat compost should also never be allowed to dry.

If planting is to be done in beds, plants should properly be spaced. Four plant densities (5.2, 7, 8.7 and 10.5 plants/m2 of bed) were compared by Steen for growing Anthurium andreanum. It has been recorded that the number of flowers/ m2 increased with plant number, this effect being greater in the first year than in the second. However, the productivity per plant declines with increasing plant density. Leaving side shoots on the plants will have a positive effect on the number of flowers/m2, but this effect becomes less pronounced as plant density increased. When all side shoots are removed, plant density does not influence flower diameter but when they were retained increasing density will have a slightly adverse effect on diameter.

Plants should carefully be examined to decide when repotting is due. The new pots should not be very much larger than the previous ones. Young plants need repotting every year, while the adult once every 2-3 years.
C. Manuring and fertilization
Anthuriums need adequate amount of nutrients for their proper growth and flowering. Among the major elements, application of nitrogen potassium and calcium markedly improvc the yield and quality of flowers. Deficiencies of these nutrients, on the other hand, adversely affect the plant growth and developments. Insufficient levels of nitrogen and potassium are associated with lower flower yield, reduces stem length and smaller flowers. Leaf necrosis and dead root tips are observed with deficiency of potassium. Application of 126 mg N/12.5 litre container per week is suggested for Anthurium andreanum. An increase in potassium from mg/container per week to 225 mg improves both flower yield and quality, but a further increase may have a slightly negative effect. The best results can be obtained with an annual dressing of 29 g N + 30 g K2O/m2. At optimum nutrient levels, mature leaves containes 2% nitrogen and 3% potassium. Nitrogen also has a beneficial effect on the quality of potted A. scherzerianum, the best result being obtained with a medium dose of 21. 6 mg N/pot/week. Application of 22.5 mg K/pot/week gives better quality plants.

Adequate level of calcium is also necessary for obtaining optimum yield and to stabilize spathe colour. Deficiency of calcium resulted in colour break down, instability of the middle lamella and cell separation and collapse in proximal section of the lobe and spathe. The problem is more serious at lower pH of the substrate (3.0 to 4.0). The optimum calcium content in the lobe and leaf tissues have been found to be 0.16 and 0.54%, respectively.

Plants having the highest fresh and dry weights, the largest number of flowers, the longest stems and the best quality flowers with no leaf chlorosis are observed with 4 g CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) and no boron. However, the longest spadix and flower fresh weight are obtained with 4 g Caco3 and 2.0 mg boron.
D. Watering of Anthurium
Anthuriums require generous watering. However, the right amount of water and proper intervals between successive application of water are determined by several factors. Micro- climate in the greenhouse, season, size of the plant in relation to the diameter of the pot, stage of plant growth, type of container and the compost in which the plant is being grown are important. Plentiful watering should be done during spring and summer, and in winter, when the plants are resting the surface soil is to be allowed to dry out between successive watering.

The quality of water also has considerable influence on plant growth and development. The cut-flower yield of A. andreanum declines progressively as the salinity of the water used for glass house irrigation increases. Water containing! sodium chloride (common salt) is particularly detrimental lowers the production by 40-46 per cent.

Anthurium Vegetative propagation

Division and cutting are the commonly used methods involved in vegetative propagation.

1. Division
Anthurium can easily be propagated by division of off- shoots with aerial roots from the main stem. Plants obtained through this method flower early in comparison with those from cuttings or other methods. Cultivars belonging to A. scherzerianum generally produce more number of offshoots as compared to those of A. andreanum.

2. Cutting
Anthuriums are also propagated by terminal cuttings rooted under intermittent mist. Mist accelerates rooting and enhances the survival. Plant age has been found to have no marked effect on rooting but more leaves are produced by rooted cuttings taken from the older plants. Seradix 1, a hormone preparation give the best rooting while reduction of the transpiration area has no effect on root formation or top growth.
C. Micro-propagation
With tissue culture techniques, anthuriums are multiplied very rapidly and flower production has been reported to be higher than those from seedlings. A modified Murashige and Skoog's medium (MS) has been suggested by several workers. The growth of callus tissue from adult A. andreanum plants is found to be the best in such medium. Both A. andreanum and A. scherzerianum explants produces many shoots when cultivated 'in vitro' in the presence of Benzyladenine (BA) and 2,4- D. However, yeast extract stimulates shoot growth of A. scherzerianum but restricts it in A. andreanum. Pot plants A. scherzerianum could be obtained more quickly than those of A. andreanum owing to the former's rapid callus formation and shoot growth.

Regeneration of leaf explants been found be better than other plant parts. A method of propagation that can be used in commercial practice has been suggested. After callus has formed on pieces of leaf tissue it is transferred to a solid medium. When the callus starts growth it is transferred to a liquid medium in Erlenmeyer flask which is placed on a shaking machine rotating at 120 revolutions a minute.
All the tested cultivars in this medium grew well but there will be marked differences in growth and vigour among them is noticed. To obtain plantlets the callus clumps are transferred again to a solid medium in the dark, where shoots are formed, these shoots are later rooted in light. Multiplication by this method is far more rapid than with the use of only solid agar medium. Disinfection of the tissues for 20 minutes results in less damage than disinfection for 30 minutes.

Anthurium Propagation methods

Anthuriums are generally propagated through seed, division and cutting. In recent years, micropropagation is also being employed for commercial production of planting material.

A. Anthurium propagation - Seed propagation method
Seeds should be harvested at proper stage of berry ripening for successful germination. In Anthurium schezerianum, the best germination resulting from picking berries at the orange-red stage and fermenting them for 4 days in water at 22o C to separate the seeds from the pulp. The seeds extracted from unripe (green), half ripe (reddish) and ripe (red) berries shows 100 per cent germination as compared to only 42% in those from over-ripe (reddish brown) berries. The former are the first to germinate and are the most suitable for commercial seed production.

The optimum storage temperature is very important for successful germination. The best storage temperature is l0oC and after 6 weeks 60% of the seeds germinate. When seeds from berries are treated with thiram dust before storage, 95% of the seeds germinate after 12 weeks at 100 C and 60% after 16 weeks.
Berry disinfection with Euparen (dichlofluanid), Benomyl, Maneb, Phyton 80 or Orthocide 50 (Captan) are found to be as effective as with Thiram. Some seeds stored at 20°C germinate, but those stored at 5o C usually become nonviable, although seeds can be successfully stored at 8°C above water for 10 weeks. Seeds stored in water will become rotten.

Optimum atmospheric temperature and suitable medium are also necessary for proper seed germination. Temperature ranging from 20-25°C is reported to be optimum for germination of A. scherzerianum hybrid seeds.

Seeds of andreanum germinate better at 28o C in high peat substrate having pH between 4.0 and 5.0 and under continuous lighting whereas those of scherzerianum prefer high peat substrate If with a pH 4.0.
For other species, the most suitable temperature for seed germination is found to be 21.1 to 23.90 Centigrades. Other organic media like well rotten FYM + peat + sphagnum moss can also be used for germinating the seeds (

Anthurium Growth and Flowering

The plants are affected by variation in different environmental factors as well as due to effect of growth substances.

A. Anthurium Environmental factors.
The main important environmental factors are discussed here.

1. Temperature for Anthurium growth
Anthuriums undergo two distinct developmental stages, a juvenile phase (with only vegetative buds in the axil) and a generative phase. The flower buds produced in the axils of leaves during the generative phase remain dormant after initiation and develop into flower, depending upon the dormancy breaking. Unfavourable environmental conditions during this phase can damage the flower bud before normal development or remain vegetative. For both A. andreanum, and A. scherzerianum, the optimum temperature for vegetative growth is 18.3 °C. Lower growing temperatures cause spotting on leaves. Higher temperatures (21.1 to 23.9 °C) are. needed to force the plant to initiate flower buds. A temperature below 18.3°C, especially in case of A. scherzerianum markedly reduces the growth of the plants. Temperature requirements for satisfactory flowering of A. scherzerianum in pots were also investigated. Below 15°C leaf production was somewhat slower and the leaves were less stiff whereas above 180 C the flower number and size were generally reduced. The time required for buds to develop into blooms ready for harvest ranged from about 45 to 53 days during May to October and from about 65 to 75 days during December to March.
. Light factor for Anthurium growth and Anthurium flowering
In commercial practice anthuriums are given 80% shade during the summer months. Decreasing the shade does not affect flower production but reduces the stem length and the leaves of plants under 27% shade becomes chlorotic. The largest number of flowers are produced with the least shading but flower quality is better under more shade. Plants from cuttings without the apical bud shows less vegetative growth and does not show a marked response to light intensity. It has been reported that growth rate increases and average flower production rises when plants are shaded so as to receive at least 45% of the available light. The unsuitable growing conditions stimulates the development of abnormal spathe and/or spadix and reduces the productivity of plant.
3. Carbon-dioxide for Anthurium growth
Enrichment of carbon dioxide improves and advances the plant growth (by about 3 weeks) and increased the market value. A concentration of 900 ml/m3 proved more beneficial than 600 ml/m3.

B. Role of growth substances
Certain chemicals are found to be effective on plant, growth. Treatment of plants with PBA, BA or ethephon introduces adventitious buds. Maximum shoot formation is observed with BA followed by PBA and ethephon

Pesticides Destroying 60 Percent of Honeybees

( The pesticides used in industrial agriculture may eventually undermine its very existence by destroying the honeybees upon which the system depends, experts are warning.

"When I was teaching at Humboldt State University in northern California 20 years ago, I invited a beekeeper to talk to my students," wrote former Environmental Protection Agency analyst Evaggelos Vallianatos on the Web site "He said that each time he took his bees to southern California to pollinate other farmers' crops, he would lose a third of his bees to sprays. In 2009, the loss ranges all the way to 60 percent."

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating more than 90 crops in the United States, for a total value of $15 billion per year in 2007 alone. Yet in the last 20 years, overall honeybee numbers have declined by 30 percent. The population collapse is so severe that U.S. agriculture now depends upon imported bees for pollination.

One of the primary culprits in this collapse is agricultural insecticides, to which bees are exposed every time beekeepers release them to pollinate a non-organic field. According to bee experts, insecticides are well known to cause brain damage and disorientation to bees, sometimes making it impossible for them to navigate back to the hive.

The hallmark feature of colony collapse disorder is hives entirely or almost entirely abandoned by their bees.

According to entomologist Carl Johansen of Washington State University-Pullman, "the most destructive bee poisoning insecticide ever developed" is a time-release chemical microcapsule known as methyl parathion.

Methyl parathion was first developed as a nerve gas by the Nazi company IG Farben in the 1940s. In its time-release formulation, it slowly releases poison gas over the course of several days. Bees that visit plants treated with the insecticide can bring back the still-releasing capsules to their hives, poisoning an entire colony.

It's not just the bees that suffer. Parathion also contaminates the honey produced by these bees, entering the human food supply.

Nevertheless, beekeepers regularly recycle the wax from parathion-contaminated hives, and sell the poisonous honey to the public.

Pesticides Destroying 60 Percent of Honeybees

( The pesticides used in industrial agriculture may eventually undermine its very existence by destroying the honeybees upon which the system depends, experts are warning.

"When I was teaching at Humboldt State University in northern California 20 years ago, I invited a beekeeper to talk to my students," wrote former Environmental Protection Agency analyst Evaggelos Vallianatos on the Web site "He said that each time he took his bees to southern California to pollinate other farmers' crops, he would lose a third of his bees to sprays. In 2009, the loss ranges all the way to 60 percent."

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating more than 90 crops in the United States, for a total value of $15 billion per year in 2007 alone. Yet in the last 20 years, overall honeybee numbers have declined by 30 percent. The population collapse is so severe that U.S. agriculture now depends upon imported bees for pollination.

One of the primary culprits in this collapse is agricultural insecticides, to which bees are exposed every time beekeepers release them to pollinate a non-organic field. According to bee experts, insecticides are well known to cause brain damage and disorientation to bees, sometimes making it impossible for them to navigate back to the hive.

The hallmark feature of colony collapse disorder is hives entirely or almost entirely abandoned by their bees.

According to entomologist Carl Johansen of Washington State University-Pullman, "the most destructive bee poisoning insecticide ever developed" is a time-release chemical microcapsule known as methyl parathion.

Methyl parathion was first developed as a nerve gas by the Nazi company IG Farben in the 1940s. In its time-release formulation, it slowly releases poison gas over the course of several days. Bees that visit plants treated with the insecticide can bring back the still-releasing capsules to their hives, poisoning an entire colony.

It's not just the bees that suffer. Parathion also contaminates the honey produced by these bees, entering the human food supply.

Nevertheless, beekeepers regularly recycle the wax from parathion-contaminated hives, and sell the poisonous honey to the public.

Pesticides are killing birds, bees, and bats by the millions

( Estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate that millions of birds and fish die every year from pesticide exposure. Scientists are now discovering that even low level exposure is disrupting the animal kingdom and causing new diseases to develop, threatening many species with extinction.

Roughly 90 percent of the nation's rivers and streams are contaminated with pesticides, affecting more than 80 percent of fish. More than 30 percent of the nation's aquifers are contaminated as well, affecting the drinking water of millions of people.

In recent years, scientists have been observing the decimation of many species of bees, amphibians, and bats due to pesticides. In just a few years, over one million bats in the northeastern United States have died from diseases caused by pesticide exposure. More than 1,800 species of sea creatures face extinction from exposure and many researchers suspect that colony collapse disorder (CCD) among bees is being caused by pesticides as well.

Some of the smallest sea creatures being affected are spreading disease all the way up the food chain. Seals that eat contaminated herring are dying by the thousands, illustrating how even limited exposure can have widespread consequences.

Carlos Davidson, a conservation biologist from San Francisco State University, believes that pesticides directly inhibit immune function in animals exposed to them, causing them to act as hosts for diseases. Novel diseases that have left scientists at a loss for an explanation are likely developing in part from the overuse of antibiotics in the general population. Together, a deadly combination is formed that threatens both animal and human life.

Back in the 1970s, scientists discovered that insecticides were being carried by the wind from crops in the San Joaquin Valley of California up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains where they contaminated air, water, and snow in this otherwise pristine area. Eventually, researchers found that amphibians living in lakes and streams were wrought with the same pesticides. Because the amphibian population declined heavily between the 1970s and the 1990s, the same time that those pesticides were used in the valley, Davidson believes that pesticides were the culprit in those deaths.

Many see the obvious connection between pesticide exposure and vulnerability to disease; however, proving it without a doubt is a difficult task. Many concerned scientists recognize the problem but do not know what to do about it. Unless something is done to greatly reduce pesticide use, the entire existence of the animal kingdom is at stake.

Anthurium Climate

Anthuriums require warm greenhouse with shading from direct sunshine and a humid condition. The optimum temperature for growth is 18-21°C and the minimum temperature should not be less than 10-13oC for a short period. The relative humidity which also plays an important role in the growth and development of anthuriums should be around 80%, higher humidity has, however marginal effect on the plants. Bright but filtered light is essential for abundant flowering.

II. Anthurium Species and Anthurium Cultivars
There are many cultivars and species under the genus Anthurium.

A. Anthurium Species
Among 500-600 known species, the important cultivated species belonging to both flowering and foliage groups are mentioned below.

1. Anthurium Flowering group
The following are the species under the flowering group: Anthurium andreanum, A. bakeri, A. brownii, A. ornatum, A. regale, A. regnellianum, A. robustum, A. scherzerianum
2. Anthurium Foliage group
The following are the species under the foliage group: a). clarinervium, b). corrugatuln, c). crystallinum, d). holtomanum, e). leuconerum, f). magnificum, g). panduratum, h). papilionensis, i). splendidum, j). veitchii, and k). warocqueanum. Among the various species, a). andreanum and b). scherzerianum are cultivated extensively for the production of flowers. The characteristic features of these two species are given below.

I. Anthurium andreanum (Oil cloth flower, Tail flower, Painter's palette)
. An erect plant with oblong heart-shaped leaves, 20-35 cm long and 15-20 cm wide. The spathe is heart shaped, lacquered reddish orange or scarlet, 10-15 cm long with a yellow and white pendent spadix. It is suitable for greenhouse and is widely grown for its handsome foliage and coloured spathe.

II. Anthurium scherzerianum (Flamingo flower, Flame plant)
It is a better known and more compact plant with narrow leaves, 15-20 cm long and 4.6-6.6 cm wide. The ovate spathe is brilliant scarlet, while the spirally twisted spadix is golden yellow. It flowers chiefly from February to July and needs keeping moist. This is a popular house plant of the genus.
B. Anthurium Cultivars
The present day flowering anthuriums are mostly hybrids of different species, involving mainly a. andreanum and b. scherzerianum. The popular cultivars grown throughout the world both for cut-flowers and in pots are Abe (bright pink), Aneunae (green and coral pink), Avo-Anneke (pink), Avo- Jose (white), Avo-Clandia (red), Farsiet (orange), Haga white, Homing Orange, Horning Rubin, Jamaica (white), Kaumana (red), Kozohara (red), Manova Mist (white), Nitta (orange), Nova Aurora (red) and Ozaki (red). Cultivars Calypso (dark pink on inner surface and light pink on outer side), Trinidad (off white), Blush (red veins on spathe) and Double (different colours) are the novelties and some of the important cultivars.

Anthurium Gardening

Anthuriums are perennials with creping habitat. The speciality of this flowering plant is its brilliantly coloured foliage in some cultivars along with flowers. Flowers are available in various colours and shades used as cut flowers. Suitable conditions for growing anthuriums and its cultivation practices are given in detail in this article.

The genus Anthurium belongs to the family Araceae. It I falls under two groups viz. foliage and flowering. Although most anthuriums flower, those of the foliage group have large handsome velvety leaves, may bear conspicuous or unattractive flowers, while those in the flowering group have remarkably showy spathes and spadices but less handsome foliage.
Anthuriums are tropical plants of great beauty and are grown either for the showy cut flowers or for their unusually attractive foliage. They are very popular with flower arrangers because of the bold effect and lasting qualities of flowers when cut. These contribute to the elegance and attractiveness which are the pre-requisites for a quality design.

The name anthurium is derived from the Greek' anthos' - flower and 'oura' -tail referring to the spadix. These ever green plants are native to Colombia, Peru, Central and South America, Brazil and Venezuela and have been grown in En gland since the early nineteenth century. Anthurium is one of the Hawaii's principal cut-flower exports. Anthuriums are easy enough to grow provided they are given the right green house conditions.

II. Soil and Climate
The soil and climatic conditions favourable for the growth of anthurium are described here.

A. Soil

The soil for growing anthuriums whether in pot or bed, should be light, well drained and rich in organic matter. Leaf growth and flower production of anthurium is found to be better in gravel than in peat or in a mixture of sphagnum and coniferous forest soil.
The media comprising 1:1 mixture of wood shavings and soil, or 5: 1 mixture of wood shavings and cow manure and tree-fern fibre produce the best plant growth.

A medium containing peat + pinebark + perlite (2 : 2: 1) gives 98.8% top grade flowers and 18% higher flower yield as compared to other media used for growing A. andreanum. It has been suggested a medium containing peat + superphosphate + perlite (equal quantity) for better growth and flowering in this species. Pot cultivation will show that the best substrates are generally those in which the basic component is high peat.

Carbon Dioxide's Effects on Plants Increase Global Warming, Study Finds

( and other plants help keep the planet cool, but rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are turning down this global air conditioner. According to a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science, in some regions more than a quarter of the warming from increased carbon dioxide is due to its direct impact on vegetation.This warming is in addition to carbon dioxide's better-known effect as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. For scientists trying to predict global climate change in the coming century, the study underscores the importance of including plants in their climate models.
"Plants have a very complex and diverse influence on the climate system," says study co-author Ken Caldeira of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology. "Plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but they also have other effects, such as changing the amount of evaporation from the land surface. It's impossible to make good climate predictions without taking all of these factors into account."
Plants give off water through tiny pores in their leaves, a process called evapotranspiration that cools the plant, just as perspiration cools our bodies. On a hot day, a tree can release tens of gallons of water into the air, acting as a natural air conditioner for its surroundings. The plants absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis through the same pores (called stomata). But when carbon dioxide levels are high, the leaf pores shrink. This causes less water to be released, diminishing the tree's cooling power.
The warming effects of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas have been known for a long time, says Caldeira. But he and fellow Carnegie scientist Long Cao were concerned that it is not as widely recognized that carbon dioxide also warms our planet by its direct effects on plants. Previous work by Carnegie's Chris Field and Joe Berry had indicated that the effects were important. "There is no longer any doubt that carbon dioxide decreases evaporative cooling by plants and that this decreased cooling adds to global warming," says Cao. "This effect would cause significant warming even if carbon dioxide were not a greenhouse gas."
In their model, the researchers doubled the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and recorded the magnitude and geographic pattern of warming from different factors. They found that, averaged over the entire globe, the evapotranspiration effects of plants account for 16% of warming of the land surface, with greenhouse effects accounting for the rest. But in some regions, such as parts of North America and eastern Asia, it can be more than 25% of the total warming. "If we think of a doubling of carbon dioxide as causing about four degrees of warming, in many places three of those degrees are coming from the effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and one is coming from the direct effect of carbon dioxide on plants."
The researchers also found that their model predicted that high carbon dioxide will increase the runoff from the land surface in most areas, because more water from precipitation bypasses the plant cooling system and flows directly to rivers and streams. Earlier models based on greenhouse effects of carbon dioxide had also predicted higher runoff, but the new research predicts that changes in evapotranspiration due to high carbon dioxide could have an even stronger impact on water resources than those models predict.
"These results really show that how plants respond to carbon dioxide is very important for making good climate predictions," says Caldeira. "So if we want to improve climate predictions, we need to improve the representation of land plants in the climate models. More broadly, it shows that the kind of vegetation that's on the surface of our planet and what that vegetation is doing is very important in determining our climate. We need to take great care in considering what kind of changes we make to forests and other ecosystems, because they are likely to have important climate consequences."
The study is published in the May 3-7 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Global Warming: Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits, Researchers Find

Reasonable worst-case scenarios for global warming could lead to deadly temperatures for humans in coming centuries, according to research findings from Purdue University and the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Researchers for the first time have calculated the highest tolerable "wet-bulb" temperature and found that this temperature could be exceeded for the first time in human history in future climate scenarios if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate.
Wet-bulb temperature is equivalent to what is felt when wet skin is exposed to moving air. It includes temperature and atmospheric humidity and is measured by covering a standard thermometer bulb with a wetted cloth and fully ventilating it.
The researchers calculated that humans and most mammals, which have internal body temperatures near 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, will experience a potentially lethal level of heat stress at wet-bulb temperature above 95 degrees sustained for six hours or more, said Matthew Huber, the Purdue professor of earth and atmospheric sciences who co-authored the paper that will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Although areas of the world regularly see temperatures above 100 degrees, really high wet-bulb temperatures are rare," Huber said. "This is because the hottest areas normally have low humidity, like the 'dry heat' referred to in Arizona. When it is dry, we are able to cool our bodies through perspiration and can remain fairly comfortable. The highest wet-bulb temperatures ever recorded were in places like Saudi Arabia near the coast where winds occasionally bring extremely hot, humid ocean air over hot land leading to unbearably stifling conditions, which fortunately are short-lived today."
The study did not provide new evaluations of the likelihood of future climate scenarios, but explored the impacts of warming. The challenges presented by the future climate scenarios are daunting in their scale and severity, he said.
"Whole countries would intermittently be subject to severe heat stress requiring large-scale adaptation efforts," Huber said. "One can imagine that such efforts, for example the wider adoption of air conditioning, would cause the power requirements to soar, and the affordability of such approaches is in question for much of the Third World that would bear the brunt of these impacts. In addition, the livestock on which we rely would still be exposed, and it would make any form of outside work hazardous."
While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change central estimates of business-as-usual warming by 2100 are seven degrees Fahrenheit, eventual warming of 25 degrees is feasible, he said.
"We found that a warming of 12 degrees Fahrenheit would cause some areas of the world to surpass the wet-bulb temperature limit, and a 21-degree warming would put half of the world's population in an uninhabitable environment," Huber said. "When it comes to evaluating the risk of carbon emissions, such worst-case scenarios need to be taken into account. It's the difference between a game of roulette and playing Russian roulette with a pistol. Sometimes the stakes are too high, even if there is only a small chance of losing."
Steven Sherwood, the professor at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Australia, who is the paper's lead author, said prolonged wet-bulb temperatures above 95 degrees would be intolerable after a matter of hours.
"The wet-bulb limit is basically the point at which one would overheat even if they were naked in the shade, soaking wet and standing in front of a large fan," Sherwood said. "Although we are very unlikely to reach such temperatures this century, they could happen in the next."
Humans at rest generate about 100 watts of energy from metabolic activity. Wet-bulb temperature estimates provide upper limits on the ability of people to cool themselves by sweating and otherwise dissipating this heat, he said. In order for the heat dissipation process to work, the surrounding air must be cooler than the skin, which must be cooler than the core body temperature. The cooler skin is then able to absorb excess heat from the core and release it into the environment. If the wet-bulb temperature is warmer than the temperature of the skin, metabolic heat cannot be released and potentially dangerous overheating can ensue depending on the magnitude and duration of the heat stress.
The National Science Foundation-funded research investigated the long-term implications of sustained greenhouse gas emissions on climate extremes. The team used climate models to compare the peak wet-bulb temperatures to the global temperatures for various climate simulations and found that the peak wet-bulb temperature rises approximately 1 degree Centigrade for every degree Centigrade increase in tropical mean temperature.
Huber did the climate modeling on supercomputers operated by Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), Purdue's central information technology organization. Sherwood performed the wet-bulb calculations.
"These temperatures haven't been seen during the existence of hominids, but they did occur about 50 million years ago, and it is a legitimate possibility that the Earth could see such temperatures again," Huber said. "If we consider these worst-case scenarios early enough, perhaps we can do something to address the risk through mitigation or new technological advancements that will allow us to adapt."

Eat brown rice to prevent high blood pressure, lower heart attack risk

( The rate of cardiovascular disease is much lower in Japan than in the U.S. and now scientists at the Cardiovascular Research Center and Department of Physiology at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia think they know why. People in Japan eat rice virtually every day and rice -- especially the brown and only partially "polished" varieties -- contains a natural compound that appears to guard against high blood pressure and heart disease.

Brown rice is already well known as a healthy food choice because it's a good source of fiber, B vitamins and other nutrients. But new research just presented by Temple University researcher Satoru Eguchi at the American Physiological Society's Experimental Biology conference held in Anaheim, California, reveals another powerful health benefit. A specific natural compound found in a layer of tissue surrounding grains of brown rice inhibits an endocrine protein known as angiotensin II. In excess, angiotensin II can trigger serious cardiovascular problems.

This is enormously significant news because angiotensin II is a well documented culprit in the development of hypertension and atherosclerosis. Angiotensin II constricts arteries, increases blood pressure and forces the heart to work harder. It also thickens and stiffens the walls of the heart and blood vessels.

Big Pharma has created a huge industry producing angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) -- prescription drugs that lower blood pressure by putting the brakes on angiotensin II. Sold under brand names such as Atacand, Teveten, Avapro and Cozaar, the medications are designed to block angiotensin II, thereby relaxing blood vessels so blood pressure is lowered.

But the side effects of these drugs can be serious and even deadly. They include fetal harm (possibly death) if the drugs are taken during pregnancy, dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, decreased sexual ability, infection, chest pain, swelling, trouble breathing and more.The new discovery about rice indicates brown rice or even half-milled rice could be a natural, side-effect free angiotensin II blocker.

Dr. Eguchi, an associate professor of physiology, and his colleagues investigated the subaleurone layer of Japanese rice. Located between the white center of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, this sub-layer of rice is loaded with oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates known to benefit the digestive system) and dietary fibers. But when brown rice is polished to turn it into white rice, this subaleurone layer is ripped off, taking away some of the nutrients. However, the subaleurone layer is preserved not only in brown rice but also in two types of rice popular in Japan -- half-milled (Haigamai) rice or incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) rice.

The Temple research team, working with conjunction with scientists at the Wakayama Medical University Department of Pathology and the Nagaoka National College of Technology Department of Materials Engineering in Japan, removed subaleurone tissue from Kinmemai rice and ran a variety of lab tests that demonstrated the components of this rice layer inhibited angiotensin II activity in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. Bottom line: the subaleurone rice layer could offer powerful protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis by blocking the endocrine protein that can trigger those conditions.

"Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases," Dr. Eguchi said in a media statement. "We hope to present an additional health benefit of consuming half-milled or brown rice (as opposed to white rice) as part of a regular diet."

Using Seawater in Agriculture and Its Significance for Human Survival

( The general public is slowly becoming aware of some of the health benefits of antioxidants. Health-conscious individuals have known about their many benefits, which include the ability to fight cancer and heart disease, for a long time now. The good news is that according to a new study by a group of Italian scientists published in the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, irrigating cherry tomatoes with diluted seawater was shown to actually increase their level of antioxidants.

In this study, the Italian scientists watered one group of cherry tomatoes using freshwater. Another group of cherry tomatoes was watered with a solution of diluted (12%) seawater. The scientists found that the cherry tomatoes grown using the diluted seawater had much higher levels of antioxidants (like vitamin C, vitamin E, dihydrolipoic acid, and chlorogenic acid) than the cherry tomatoes grown using freshwater.

Some people may be thinking that this news isn't such a big deal, but nothing could be further from the truth. Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented global water shortage. According to a report from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 70% of the world's freshwater supply is used in irrigation.

According to the report, demands on freshwater ecosystems are being seriously impacted by human population growth and burgeoning worldwide economic activities. The report notes that water withdrawals "have increased six-fold since the 1900s, which is twice the rate of population growth." Being able to use seawater to irrigate crops could mean the difference between life and death for many people.

It might be difficult for certain individuals to see the big picture concerning the health of the planet when they are clearly unaware of how to conquer their own personal health challenges. Could it be that they also don't know about the amazing research done by Dr. Robert Cutler which suggests that antioxidants may, in fact, be longevity determinants? To put that in really simple terms that anyone can understand, Cutler's work has repeatedly shown evidence that the more antioxidants you have in your body, the longer you will live. It's that basic. (Obviously, don't walk out in front of any cars -- this refers to potential longevity here.)

This is one reason why many consumer health advocates have made it a life mission to spread this kind of information. The health benefits of antioxidants have turned up in study after study, but how many doctors actually sit down with their patients and emphasize their importance in terms of health and longevity? Sadly, there are way too many doctors who don't inform their patients about the power of foods to prevent (and sometimes even cure) disease despite the fact that this stuff is constantly being reported every month in countless peer-reviewed medical journals.

Incidentally, the Italian scientists that conducted the study using diluted seawater and cherry tomatoes aren't the first ones to study using seawater to grow more nutritious plants. In 1976, a man named Dr. Maynard Murray published an outstanding book called Sea Energy Agriculture. Dr. Murray wanted to find out why sea life, both animal and vegetable, was healthier than life on land. In his book, he gives an example about how when one compares the cells of a baby whale to an adult whale, the cells don't show the evidence of the chemical changes that one sees when comparing the cells of newborn and adult land mammals. It was his belief that the reason for the absence of chronic diseases in fish and animal life is due to the fact that the ocean has the perfect balance of trace mineral elements required for the optimal health of both land and sea creatures. He even did experiments where he fed animals plants that had been fertilized with solids made with evaporated seawater and found that those animals were far healthier and lived longer than animals that were fed in the traditional way.

It is a well-known fact that foods grown in the nutrient-depleted soils today have greatly diminished nutritional value, and it is imperative to find a way to restore the minerals to the soil that are lost through erosion and other means. With a worldwide water shortage looming ahead, it is also important to figure out how to harness the amazing power of seawater to irrigate crops. This is why research that finds ways to both conserve water and create more nutritious foods must not be ignored if man is to continue to inhabit the earth

Bringing the Culture Back in Agriculture

( After the turn of the previous century there was a lot of experimentation with mono cultures. By that is meant growing only one field crop, e.g. corn or wheat. This is a principle that goes against nature, which works with ecosystems based on synergy and complex wholes, whereby plants work together and support one another. Some plants root deeper than others, allowing them to uptake minerals from underneath the topsoil. When these plants die, their rich mineral content in turn fertilizes the soil. This is how nature creates her own cycle. On natural grasslands you will always find clover and herb species. Clover gets its minerals from deep inside the ground and the herbs fulfill a healing role in the ecosystem.

Mono cultures meant the end of the use of natural ecosystems in agriculture. In order to achieve higher yields faster, nitrogen-based fertilizer was developed. Encouraged by the success of nitrogen bombs in the First World War, scientists were led to develop nitrogen-based fertilizer for agricultural purposes. The funding came from petrochemical companies whose goal it was to make the national and international economy entirely dependent on gas and other fossil fuels. It is not surprising, therefore, that these powerful companies enjoy warm ties with the arms industry. Oil is a major waster of fossil fuels and many wars have been fought over oil. The Iraq war comes to mind as a recent example.

Seen in this light, chemical weaponry as the inspiration for modern agriculture doesn't seem such a strange concept. The scientists were told to figure out the minimum amount of elements to achieve plant growth. The idea was to maximize profits with minimal means. The NPK method was the result. The letters N, P, and K stand for three elements: nitrogen (N), phosporus (P), and potassium (K). Using only these three elements, it was not only possible to grow crops but also to do it at a very fast pace.

Through a clever propaganda campaign, a dependency was created on these synthetically produced fossil-fuel based variations, to which the chemical companies held the patent. Mono cultures and artificial fertilizer were hailed as the solution for the world food problem. No longer would anyone have to be hungry because we were now able to grow food on a massive scale. Who wouldn't want that? These days, however, we are seeing food and oil prices rising, and food and oil getting scarce. The world hunger problem has never been resolved, while the petrochemical companies have only gotten richer and more powerful.

Most readers here are aware that our soils have become depleted and acidified. How this came to be is not known to everyone, however. Let's continue with our history lesson. Though the NPK method was capable of producing large-scale mono cultures, the health of these crops left a lot to be desired. It appeared fast growth was not healthy growth, as these crops were attacked by mother nature's cleanup crew: insects, fungi, 'weeds', viruses, and other pathogens, among which cancer. Mother nature simply does not allow large concentrations of weak organisms to survive.

The scientists looked again to the weapons industry to find something with which to battle these 'pests' and other unwanted garbage men of mother nature. These became the infamous pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other 'cides'. Their origin? Nerve gas. Originally they were nothing but diluted nerve gas (by now it may not surprise you to find out that the basis of chemo therapy is actually mustard gas).

By selling farmers artificial fertilizer to grow their crops and pesticides to fight off unwanted intruders, a disastrous cycle was created, which can only be described with yet another 'cide': nutricide, the killing of nutrients. Crops grown in this manner are mere holograms: from the outside they may look like food, but in reality these weakened, pumped-up crops lack nutritional content.

The one-sidedness of mono cultures and artificial fertilizer as well as the destructive nature of pesticides have brought about a serious depletion of our soils' mineral content. By replacing mother nature's rich menu of minerals with only three synthetic elements and by 'treating' crops with highly toxic pesticides at various growth stages, soils have been poisoned and exhausted. Humans and animals eating these crops will experience the same poisoning and exhaustion.

It's not as if we couldn't have known. In the 1930s, Congress had an official investigation done into NPK-based agricultural practices. The report, which came out in 1936, had alarming conclusions and has become known as Senate Document 264. It warned about a health crisis of unprecedented proportions if these practices were to continue. The highly powerful chemical industry managed to successfully lobby lawmakers, however, and through bribes got a majority of senators on their side. Document 264 was subsequently disregarded.

NPK farming and the pharmaceutical industry was then allowed to thrive. So was the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other modern welfare diseases which followed as a result. Thus a system was created in which people were first made sick with non-nutritional, toxic foods, after which the same companies presented the 'solution' with medicines manufactured by their pharmaceutical branches. Chemical 'treatment' from the cradle to the grave. Why have we allowed to let it come this far in 100 years' time? We are now living the health crisis Senate Document 264 warned us about.

Since the 1970s these same chemical giants have been genetically engineering crops in order to gain patents on 'new' seeds whose genetic structure has been altered. Monsanto, which gave us Agent Orange and DDT, is leading this dangerous game. For years, they have been buying up seed stocks in order to genetically modify and patent them. There is no patent on nature, but nature reworked can, in fact, be patented. There is nothing natural about GMOs as only through pathogens such as viruses and cancer cells are they able to penetrate cells to alter their gene structure.

Monsanto is taking this idea even further. Monsanto's seeds are 'Roundup ready', i.e. they are resistant to their feared Roundup pesticide. You read it right, the seeds have been manipulated in such a way that crops cannot grow without being sprayed with Roundup, making the pesticide the fertilizer! Monsanto also has the technology to insert a so-called 'suicide gene' into their seeds, so that farmers can get only one harvest out of them, forcing farmers to buy new seeds each year. One cannot imagine a greater dependence on an industry which not only aims to control our energy reserves, but our food reserves as well.

The solution lies in the solution. For this, we need to turn to the sea. Maynard Murray was an ear, nose and throat doctor who worried about the worsening health of the average American, particularly cancer, which was a new but growing phenomenon at the time. He came up with the unusual idea of applying diluted sea water to the soil. His reasoning was as follows: in an unpolluted sea environment there is no disease, and plant and animal life gets to live at least twice as long as on land; there is no place richer in minerals than the sea, it's the 'soup of life'. There are 92 minerals and trace elements in sea water and 84 in sea salt, the supply is endless and there's no patent. I suppose by now you know why this is not practiced on a large scale.

Murray achieved spectacular results and tests showed his crops contained considerably more vitamins and minerals. He wrote a book about it in 1976, entitled Sea Energy Agriculture. Don Jansen, a student of Maynard Murray's, cured his Dad's cancer with ocean-grown wheatgrass. Wheatgrass contains a spectacular 70% of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a magnesium base and is 98% identical to hemoglobin, the protein responsible for building red blood cells and oxygen transport through the blood. Interestingly enough, sea water is also 98% identical to blood.

By growing wheatgrass using sea minerals and drinking the juice, you are offering two plasmas to the blood in liquid form. Sea minerals and chlorophyll are also alkalizing. In order to keep the doctor away it is essential that we mineralize and alkalize ourselves on a daily basis. Minerals and chlorophyll are the building blocks of life and contain life-giving solar and water energy, as well as RNA and DNA information. 70% of the earth's surface is covered by sea water and the 30% land mass we live on is predominantly covered by green plants, most notably grass. Nature offers it to us on a platter, but what's right in front of you is usually the first thing you overlook.

What's good for the soil is good for us, is good for plants, is good for animals. We are all one and share more genetic information than we think. Humans possess more fungal genes than human genes. No wonder the polysaccharides in such medicinal mushrooms as reishi, shiitake, maitake, and kawaratake ward off cancer in humans! It is therefore essential that we are good to nature and work together with her. We have taken the culture out of agriculture. If we're not good to our soils, we're also not good to our own 'soils', our liver and intestines. There's a direct parallel with nature. Chemicals don't heal, only nature does.

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