April 4, 2011
A recent study put forth by Nanjing Agricultural University and funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China provides further insight into the delicate relationship between plants and the soil in which they are grown. An experiment involving ryegrass shed light on how environmental toxins, chemical pesticides, and other pollutants are fully capable of absorbing directly into plants and distributing throughout plant cells.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is the general name given to a variety of contaminant byproducts that result from activities like burning coal and oil, and barbecuing and blackening meats. Scientists also intentionally manufacture and use these chemicals to make artificial dyes, plastics, pharmaceutical drugs, and pesticides.
Tests involving acenaphthene, a specific type of PAH that is a constituent of coal tar, revealed that the chemical binds fairly easily to soil solids. Since PAHs do not easily break down in the presence of water, they also tend to settle in waterways. And when normal soil pathogens found on the roots of ryegrass become contaminated with acenaphthene, the end result is the direct uptake and spread of the chemical throughout the cellular system of the plant.
So not only are PAHs an external threat that pollute air and water, but now they are known to be an internal threat that invade and permeate the very structure of plants. The implications of this are clearly devastating, as the very integrity of plants and food crops is compromised by continual exposure to these and other toxic chemicals.
The ryegrass test was just one of many that Yanzheng Gao and his colleagues plan to conduct on pollutants, soil, and plants, but it highlights the important reality of how soil composition plays a crucial role in plant health. If ryegrass so easily absorbs chemical toxins found in soil, then it is safe to assume that conventional food crops doused in chemical pesticides are most likely doing the exact same thing — and millions of people are consuming food made from these crops every single day!
According to reports, prenatal exposure to PAHs can result in low birth weight, premature delivery, heart malformations, low IQ and childhood asthma. Long-term exposure as an adult can cause lung damage, kidney dysfunction, liver problems, and skin disorders.
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This article was posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 at 5:16 am