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Is it safe to use GMO by products for compsting?  RSS feed

 
                            
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This may sound like a bizzare question but as an agriculture technition, mostly on combines, I see a lot of grains and chaff left in machines that ends up going into garbages and to the land fill. (I do realize the irony of someone interested in permaculture working in a monocrop industry but it pays the bills for now.) My question is that a lot of these grains are GMO, especially canola. Can I use this waste in my compost without ill affects?
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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I think you would be alright, supposing you compost hot enough to avoid viable seeds in the finished material.  unless there's herbicide or pesticide or fungicide or other -cide residue on this stuff.  then you'll cause yourself a lot of heartache.
 
Scott Reil
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Location: Colchester, CT
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I'm with tel; the BT inclusive stuff could be an issue and the RU ready material is showing signs of being teratogenic (genetic damage). If we were talking yellow rice or some of the earlier work with wheat I think it's fine, but some of the frankenfood stuff of late could be problematic...

HG
 
tel jetson
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helpfulgardener wrote:
I'm with tel; the BT inclusive stuff could be an issue and the RU ready material is showing signs of being teratogenic (genetic damage). If we were talking yellow rice or some of the earlier work with wheat I think it's fine, but some of the frankenfood stuff of late could be problematic...

HG


word.  I should have said "...residue on or in this stuff."  previously, the trouble with GMO was all in the DNA.  that's no longer always the case.
 
Scott Reil
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Location: Colchester, CT
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To be clear Tel, the gene swap in the BT stuff is from Bacillus thuringiensis, but it has shown toxicity in pollen to butterflies, so it is transferable. The gene in the RU formulations is, as far as I can tell, is really frankenRNA; it appears to be a manufactured gene set.

HG
 
                            
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Thanks everyone, you have inspired me to keep it OUT of my compost, the risk out ways reward it seems.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Yes you are fine composting it.

The genes in BT crops and in RU crops came from soil bacteria that were also fine to compost. Yes the BT crop will kill any Lepodoptera (butterflies and moths, both rare in the compost pile) or Coleoptera (beetles, somewhat more common) that happen to eat it, however much of the organic produce that would normally go into a compost pile has already been sprayed with BT or some other organic pesticide that will have a similar effect.

As for the Roundup ready stuff, firstly I'd like to point out that a Teratogen (causes developmental problems in a fetus, most common source in human life is any member of the mustard family) and a Mutagen (alters the DNA) are entirely different things, So I think the source on that information is unreliable at best. The big problem with roundup ready crops is that they are often hosed down with roundup, this is less of a problem with most of the crops that humans get because they take the shells off the soybeans and the cotton and corn out of the husks. I would recommend against composting cotton straw from a RU crop. Once the Glyphosate enters the cell the RU gene actually breaks it down, that is how it works, so the inside of the plant is roundup free, if it weren't the plant would die.

Really the "unknown risk" off of using GM crops in your compost pile versus normal or organic crops is smaller than the "unknown risk" of composting a new weed that shows up in your garden.
 
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