Glyphosate, the world’s most common weed killer, has caused significant concerns over its potential risk to human health, animals, and the environment for several decades. Earlier this month, a US court awarded a groundskeeper $289 million who claimed Bayer AG unit Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, gave him terminal cancer.
Now, a new report from PNAS alleges that glyphosate may be indirectly killing honey bees around the world, a threat that could potentially also leave a major mark on the global economy.
Brandnew research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that bees exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, lose critical bacterial in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.
The report titled “Glyphosate perturbs the gut microbiota of honey bees,” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on September 24. It provides enough evidence that glyphosate could be seen as the contributing factor to the rapid decline of honey bees around the world, otherwise known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind the queen.
“We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure, because right now the guidelines assume bees are not harmed by the herbicide,” said Erick Motta, the graduate student who led the research, along with professor Nancy Moran.
“Our study shows that’s not true.”
UT News of The University of Texas at Austin says that glyphosate interferes with an important enzyme found in plants and microorganisms, but not in animals, it has long been assumed to be nontoxic to animals, including humans and bees.
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