Just when I think things can’t possibly get any worse…

“Iowa State University researchers are putting flu vaccines into the genetic makeup of corn, which may someday allow pigs and humans to get a flu vaccination simply by eating corn or corn products.

“We’re trying to figure out which genes from the swine influenza virus to incorporate into corn so those genes, when expressed, would produce protein,” said Hank Harris, professor in animal science and one of the researchers on the project. “When the pig consumes that corn, it would serve as a vaccine.”

This collaborative effort project involves Mr. Harris and Brad Bosworth, an affiliate associate professor of animal science working with pigs, and Kan Wang, a professor in agronomy, who is developing the vaccine traits in the corn.

According to the researchers, the corn vaccine would also work in humans when they eat corn or even corn flakes, corn chips, tortillas or anything that contains corn, Mr. Harris said. The research is funded by a grant from Iowa State University’s Plant Sciences Institute, and is their Biopharmaceuticals and Bioindustrials Research Initiative. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Check local listings at:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/guide.html

Overview:
Behind America’s dollar hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that quietly fuels our fast-food nation: corn. In KING CORN, recent college graduates Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis leave the east coast for rural Iowa, where they decide to grow an acre of the nation’s most powerful crop.

Alarmed by signs of America’s bulging waistlines, the filmmakers arrive in the Midwest enthusiastic about their new endeavor. For their farm-to-be, they choose tiny Greene, Iowa—a place that, coincidentally, both Ian and Curt’s great-grandfathers called home three generations ago. They lease an acre of land from a skeptical landlord, fill out a pile of paperwork to sign up for subsidies and discover the U.S. government will pay them 28 dollars for their acre. Ian and Curt start the spring by injecting ammonia fertilizer, which promises to increase crop production four-fold. Then it’s planting time. With a rented high-tech tractor, they set 31,000 seeds in the ground in just 18 minutes. Their corn has also been genetically modified for another yield-increasing characteristic, herbicide resistance. When the seedlings sprout from Iowa’s black dirt, Ian and Curt apply a powerful herbicide to ensure that only their corn will thrive on their acre. Read the rest of this entry »

“The fact is that consumers have been exposed to yet another unapproved genetically altered plant, and since no testing has occurred, we cannot know what the health effects might be. In light of this week’s massive recall of beef, the agencies’ assurance that this corn poses no risk to consumers has a hollow ring.”

“These days, it appears that the U.S. is not much better than China when it comes to allowing unapproved additives into foods destined for export.”

To read entire story go to: http://www.theindependent.com/stories/02262008/new_cornrecall26.shtml

Also read 50 Harmful Effects of Genetically Modified Food

Ethanol (non)efficiency

February 26, 2008

True or False: It takes about seven barrels of oil to make eight barrels of ethanol.

The answer is: TRUE.

Despite being pitched as an alternative to oil, the ethanol production process actually depends on oil to work, leading some to claim that ethanol is actually boosting demand for oil, not curbing our appetite for it.

In the words of the Cato Institute, “It takes a lot of petroleum…to produce and distribute corn and turn it into moonshine – about seven barrels of oil to produce eight barrels of corn-based ethanol.” Read the rest of this entry »

The French government on Saturday suspended the use of genetically modified corn crops in France while it awaits EU approval for a full ban.The order formalized France’s announcement Jan. 11 that it would suspend cultivation of Monsanto’s MON810, the seed for the only type of genetically modified corn now allowed in the country.