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Environmental Sustainability &

Organically Grown Food & GMO

Chapter 5 & 6

Points of Discussion
Developments in Agriculture
Green Revolution
The Next Green Revolution: Using
Know the principles behind genetic
engineering and GM food; its
potential benefits and hazards of GM

Transformation of
Transformation of agriculture began in
The world's worst recorded food
disaster occurred in 1943 in Britishruled India. Known as the Bengal
Famine, an estimated 4 million people
died of hunger that year in eastern
India (which included today's

What was the Green

Termed coined by U.S. Agency for
International Development director
William Gaud (March 1968)
Movement to increase yields by using:
Hybrid seeds

What was the Green

A planned international effort funded
Rockefeller Foundation
Ford Foundation
Many developing country governments
An attempt by agricultural scientists to
eliminate hunger by improving crop

When did it begin?

Began in 1943 with funding from the
Rockefeller Foundation to support a
group of U.S. agricultural scientists

Who invented the Green

Norman Borlaug
considered father of the
Green Revolution
U.S. plant
Joined Rockefeller
Foundation in 1944
Assigned to the
international maize and
wheat improvement
center (CIMMYT) in
Won the Nobel in 1970

The crops developed during the

Green Revolution were high yield
varieties - meaning they were
domesticated plants bred
specifically to respond to fertilizers
and produce an increased amount
of grain per acre planted.


A complex of improvements which

greatly increased agricultural
Since 1950s
Greatest effect felt
in LDCs
Agricultural output
population growth
even without
adding additional

Adoption of new,
improved varieties
of grains
Application of
better agricultural
Use of fertilizer
Use of pesticides

Principal Beneficiaries of the Green




Green Revolution
Core exports high-yield miracle seeds
Needed oil-based fertilizers, pesticides
Asian rice crop up 66% in 1965-85
Favored areas with good soil, weather

Green Revolution

Green Revolution
Favored farmers who could afford seeds,

Favored farmers who could afford seeds,

inputs, machines, irrigation

Indebted farmers lost land, moved to cities

New monocrops lacked resistance to
Environmental contamination, erosion
Oriented to export cash crops, not domestic

Impact of the Green


Agric. Production
now outpaces pop
Use of fertilizers
has increased
food productivity
in many countries

Poor countries cannot
always afford the
machinery, seeds, and
Farmers in poor
countries cannot
afford fertilizers
leading to inequalities
b/ween rich and poor;
fertilizers lead to
ground water pollution

Impact of the Green


New irrigation
processes have
greatly increased crop
Higher productivity is
primarily responsible
for reducing
dependency on
imports in Asia,
including China and

Irrigation has led to
serious ground water
depletion, negatively
impacting water
supplies for urban
Green Revolution
technology has not
made significant
impact in SubSaharan Africa

Impact of the Green


Use of machinery
to increase
Green revolution
technology and
training have
focused on men

Has decreased the need
for human labor,
resulting in
unemployment in some
Tended to exclude
women who play
important role in food
Green rev seeds may
produce crops that are
less nutritious

Decreased the
production of
biomass fuelswood, crop
residues, and dung
Emphasis on
monocultures has
made agric more
vulnerable to
disease and pests

Genetic Engineering:
The Next Green Revolution

Next Green Revolution?

Biotechnology will help
developing countries
accomplish things that
they could never do
with conventional plant
I believe genetically
modified food crops
will stop world hunger.
Norman Borlaug
Nobel Peace Prize

The Next Green


Norman Borlaug
Nobel Peace Prize

Biotechnology helps farmers

produce higher yields on less
Technology allows us to have
less impact on soil erosion,
biodiversity, wildlife, forests, and
To achieve comparable yields
(1950-1999) with old farming
methods, would have needed an
additional 1.8 Billion hectares of

Biotechnology Critic
Biotechnology development
Same vision as chemical industry:
Short term goals
Enhanced yields, profit margins

Nature should be dominated and

forced to yield more

Prefer quick solutions

to complex ecological problems

Reductionist thinking about farming

Instead of integrated systems

Agricultural success means

Short term profits
Not long term sustainability

-- Jane Rissler, Union of Concerned Scientists

Using organisms to
Make or modify products
Improve plants or animals
Develop new microorganisms
Crossing natural divides between species
Not just crossbreeding

Genetically Modified Foods

Geneticmaterialisaltered usingnontraditional,laboratory basedmethods;
are transferredfromoneorganism

Genetic Engineering


3 main types of GM food

1. Inserting genes:
Genes are determined by different DNA sequences, when
the isolated gene is inserted into a plant, it becomes part
of the plants gene and works with its own function .
This method can increase or improve the plant such as
resistance to insects, which increases the yield of food
2 Removing genes:
The function is reduced or stopped through genetic
modification. We reduce the function of virus which
causes dried and spot of the tomato by removing parts of
the gene, thus that virus cannot be reproduced and
tomato can grow healthily.
3. Changing the process of catabolism
Food can be enhanced by changing the process of
catabolism, such as controlling the percentage of starch
of glutinous rice, and it also includes controlling the
taste, mass, colour, and usefulness of food.

benefits in agriculture
Increase yields
Increase pest resistance
Grow crops in new areas

How common is GM food?

80% of rice and wheat used nowadays.
Half of the fields are used for planting
GM food.
40% soy bean of US are genetic
modified, and 60% of soy beans
products become GM food.
71 kinds of plants and micro-organisms
in US were reported until 2005.

Example of GM Food


The first GM whole food, FLAVR SAVRTM

tomato, was marketed in the United States in
Slower ripen rate
Ripen longer on vine
Fully developed flavors

Flavr Savr Tomato developed by Calgene


Other examples of GM Food

Soy bean
Milk from GM

Other examples of GM Food

McDonalds hamburger
KFCs Zinger burger
Maxims Ham-egg
KFCs Mashed potato
with gravy
Wyeth Nursoy Soy
Based Infant Formula
Nissin Chicken Cup
Pringles Sour Cream'N

GM food is everywhere
whenever you eat!!


Potential Benefits


Cure diseases or other medical uses

A Singapore doctor is working on removing a
gene from mice, if it is transferred to potatos
gene, it can produce a protein abbreviated as
ANF, which is used to cure hypertension,
congestive heart failure, and failure of kidney.
Increase the yield of food
If the gene of plant is altered, their life cycle can
be reduced. Compare with normal plant in same
period of time, their yield is increased.
Example: Normal corns life cycle is half year and
GM corns life cycle is 3 months. Each cycle can
produce 500 corns. After 1 year, there are 1000
normal corns while 2000 GM corns, which is
doubled of the normal one.

Potential Benefits


Resistance to bad living conditions

In bad living conditions, the quantity and quality
of normal plant decreases a lot, changing the
gene of plant can make them grow healthily
under bad conditions, and it brings advantages to
companies and consumers.
Besides, the plant may not be necessarily grown
in original region but could be in mountains,
desert or snowfield.
Improve the appearance and taste of food
The juice of tomato can have a better taste, and
watermelon will have no seeds after genetically
Example: Cubic watermelons and much larger
apples which have been grown in Japan.

Potential Benefits
5.More resistance to insects
The immunity towards insects is increased, hence less
insecticide is used and less production cost is needed,
the price can also be reduced.
As no insecticide is used, it is safer to eat as insecticide
is harmful to human.
6. Enhance the nutrition of food
The nutrition value increases by changing the genes of
food, thus consumer will gain advantages from it.
Example: GM rice produce more protein.
GM tomatoes have more vitamin.

Potential Benefits


Alter the properties of food so that it is

easier for food processing
The production cost is reduced as it is easier to
process the food, which leads to a lower price of
that food hence it is economical.
As there are fewer processes, less raw materials
are wasted and it protects the environment.
Remove the parts causing allergy
The substances causing allergy can be removed,
and things that have never been eaten by human
before can be genetically modified so that it is
suitable for eating, hence there are more choices of

Potential Hazard

Affect the ecosystem

There are cycles among different food chains, they relies on

each other to form a steady and stable condition. GM food will
affect this equilibrium seriously and it may cause extinction of
certain species as many GM food is resistant towards insects.

Super-germs may exist

GM plant with immunity towards insect may develop super

germs that have immunity towards GM plant. GM food may
suffer from some new diseases and pass them to human
through food chain.
GM foods pollen grain or seed will be pollinated to other
farmlands which cause the change of tradition species. When
grass gain the new genes, it may become super grass which
affect the ecosystem and cause hazard towards food production.
It also leads to the more frequent use of grass remover and
brings hazard towards the land.
Example: GM soybeans pollen grain cross with grass to form
super grass that will not be killed easily.

Potential Hazard

Cause allergy
As the structure of GM food is altered, it may cause
allergy and the affected area may spread seriously.


Cause failure of antibiotics

When genes are inserted to cells, scientists will add
some antibiotic to determine whether it is successful
or not. If it is a success, new cells will gain immunity
towards antibiotic and increase the strength of germs.
As many plants have gained immunity towards
insect, when people suffer from the disease or eat the
plants, the antibiotics will become useless. And there
may be no ways to fight against the super germs.

Potential Hazard
5. Alter the nutrition of food

One of the uses of GM food is to increase the yield

by shortening the life cycle, however, as the growing
period is shorten, the nutrition value may decrease.
6. Produce toxin and fatal disease
The process of making GM food may produce toxin
and fatal disease which may cause death after
eating the food.
7. Transfer harmful substance to other
As virus is used to transfer gene for making GM
food, and the gene transfer process cannot be
controlled easily, it is possible for virus to gain
harmful substance and harm other animals since.

Potential Hazard
8. Extinct of certain genes
Companies want to earn as much as possible hence
they insert genes to their food so that no further
generation can be produced, this causes extinction
of food.
When new genes are used commonly, the old ones
will be abandoned and face extinction.
9. Indistinguishable between GM and non-GM
Soy bean from USA resist the insecticide hence 40%
soybean were imported to Europe, however, both
GM and non-GM soy bean are mixed and USA claims
that there is no difference between GM soybean and
normal one.

Evidence of hazard
The evolution of bacteria
German scientist has discovered and shown GM
foods gene has been passed onto organisms, and
change the structure of gene of micro organism
living in ileum. This proves that it will affect the
humans health, and it makes us worry as our
genes may also be altered.
An experiment was set up as follows:
Genetic modified pollen grains were fed to young
bees for a period of time, and the bacteria found in
the bees ileum contains genes of GM pollen grain.

Evidence of hazard
Another example was introduced, the GM
potato were fed to mice, and it thickens the
wall of stomach, this shows that the chance of
having cancer increases. Besides, the mice
become weaker in fighting against disease and
the brains of the mice wither. Other bad
effects were found in kidney, intestine and
spleen. GM potato will harm the liver and
immune system.
A person who is allergic to Brazils walnut ate
some soybean that contains gene of the
Brazils walnut showed same allergic
symptoms in1991.

Agricultural Success?
Our incredible successes as a
species are largely derived
from this choice, but the
biggest threats to our
existence stem from the same
Jared Diamond,

Basics you should know

Refer to the PLU: Price Lookup Cod

Pesticide was used

If there are only four
numbers in the PLU, this
means that the produce
was grown
conventionally or
traditionally with the
use of pesticides.The
last four letters of the
PLU code are simply what
kind of vegetable or fruit.
An example is that all
bananas are labeled with
the code of 4011.

Genetically Modified
If there are five
numbers in the PLU
code, and the number
starts with 8, this
tells you that the item
is a genetically
modified fruit or
vegetable. A
genetically engineered
(GE or GMO) banana
would be:84011

Organically Grown
If there are five
numbers in the PLU
code, and the number
starts with 9, this
tells you that the
produce was grown
organically and is not
genetically modified.
Example: An organic
banana would

Creating a balance
So are GM foods a good or
bad thing?
It depend on each
individual case.
Consumers, the
Improved Nutrition
government and scientists
Resistance to disease
should be responsible for
Reduced use of
weighing the benefits
against the costs.

Environmental risks
Health risks
Economic risks

Solutions: Sustainable
Low-input agriculture
Organic farming
Increasing funding for research in
sustainable techniques

Hope you
were enlightened by
our topic today!
Dr. Djonde