Roundup® can disrupt cells without visible effects on the whole body.

  September 28, 2017

A new study published today by the research team of Christian Vélot, molecular geneticist at Université Paris-Sud, shows that the disturbances caused by Roundup® at the cellular level manifest themselves at doses for which there is not yet a visible effect on the whole organism.

The study, published in the international journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, was conducted on a soil fungus (Aspergillus nidulans), used as a marker for the health of agricultural soils. This research involved the use of so-called high throughput analyses to quantitatively and qualitatively compare all proteins present in the cells of the fungus exposed to Roundup® with those present in the cells of the same unexposed fungus. The Roundup® tested is the field crop formulation (“GT Plus”) containing 450 g/l glyphosate (its declared herbicidal active ingredient), and the selected exposure dose corresponds to the maximum concentration for which no macroscopic effects are observed (NOAEL: No-Observed-Adverse-Effect-Level).

“The results show that even at this low dose, Roundup® causes modulation of the amount of about 6% of detected proteins, mainly affecting the cellular detoxification and stress response process, protein synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and energy and respiratory metabolism”, says C. Vélot, in charge of this study.

“These data show that, regardless of the organism exposed, metabolic disturbances due to pesticide residues may occur at doses of exposure for which there are no visible toxic effects, such as the agricultural doses used on Roundup® tolerant genetically modified plants (GMPs)”, he concludes.

It should be recalled that all GM plants in the world are evaluated according to the principle of substantial equivalence, which states that “a novel food may be treated, from the point of view of safety, as an existing food or food constituent, provided that the two are similar”. In practical terms, this means that this principle does not take into account the possible effects caused by the presence in the plant cells of the herbicide with which it is sprayed. However, this principle is used to declare that foods from GM plants are as safe and nutritious as those from the corresponding conventional plant…

As a reminder, most of our livestock are fed with Roundup-tolerant genetically modified soybean meal, imported from Brazil and Argentina, and considered essentially equivalent to conventional soybean. Our study reveals the need to carry out in-depth molecular and metabolic studies of these GM plants prior to any decision to maintain or market them.

Press release, in French only
Paris, 09/27/17