Renewable Farming

How the Web connects experts worldwide, speeding problem-solving in agriculture

At Renewable Farming we have a front-row, real-time view of many discussions (and debates) among leading scientists and other experts worldwide. Here’s an example of such a person-to-person research network, sharing experience on honeybee “colony collapse disorder,” which threatens to devastate pollinating bees globally.

Jan. 4, 2017 By Jerry Carlson — The connecting link is often a simple group e-mail chain, in which each participant’s comments are seen by everyone in the group.  In this case, the list of participants is managed by a Chinese ag and food safety professional, Chen I-Wan, who organized an international Food Safety Conference in Beijing in 2014

This particular round-robin discussion began when a Danish farrow-to-finish pork producer, Ib Pedersen, commented on a scientific paper that examined a virus as implicated in colony collapse disorder. 

For background on him, here’s a link to a story explaining Ib Pedersen’s production struggles with feeding imported, glyphosate-laced soybean meal to his farrow-to-finish operation.  Ib’s question was linked with an article questioning whether a virus is implicated in colony collapse disorder.

First to respond was Bob Streit, crop consultant in Iowa, who had personally met Ib Pedersen in Beijing in 2014.

From Bob Streit:

Hello Ib,
I had not heard of this virus before. I would guess it is a false flag story to take people’s attention off the real cause, which is glyphosate in the nectar and pollen. Ken Hamilton is a minerals/biologicals person we work with who has a Lactobacillus mix that, when fed to bees, boosts their honey amounts, taste, overall quality and eliminates the die-off. The Lactobacillus blend supplements one of the three most valuable gut bacteria which bees for digestion, and it is very susceptible to glyphosate. The honey from bees made healthier with this supplement does taste very good, too. 
Next to join the discussion was Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus, Purdue University. Since retiring from Purdue with multiple credentials in crop nutrition and microbiology, Dr. Huber has studied and traveled worldwide explaining the nature of genetically modified crops and “linked” toxic chemicals such as glyphosate. Dr. Huber is also a longtime advisor to the U.S. military’s biological defense researchers.
From Dr. Huber:
IB and Bob,
There are three characteristics of Colony Collapse Disorder, and all three are impacted by glyphosate in the pollen, as Bob pointed out.
The first of these is micronutrient deficiency in the bees. Glyphosate in the pollen chelates micronutrients, so the plants which the bees foraged on are deficient. They’re further made deficient because root exudates contain glyphosate, which is toxic to microbes in the soil that make micronutrients available for plant uptake – especially Manganese.  
The second characteristic is that the bees are starving while there is adequate honey and bee bread in the hive. Reason: Glyphosate is a powerful antibiotic that kills the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter in the bee stomach so they can’t digest those foods. Therefore they are starving.
And third, glyphosate is an endocrine hormone disrupter so the bees never learn to forage efficiently and lose their way back to the hive.  
Couple this last factor with the neonicotinoid insecticides which are also endocrine hormone disrupters, and you have the perfect scenario for bee death.
Glyphosate is commonly found in honey – even organic because it is so indiscriminately used throughout the environment..
The immunity of bees to European Foul Brood, mites, viruses, etc. is dependent on the two bacteria mentioned so when glyphosate is toxic to them, the bees are susceptible to many abiotic and biological stresses. There also is an accumulation of toxic formaldehyde in the GMO plants and a depletion of glutathione.
Watching this opening discussion was Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
She has personally conducted several research studies into the safety aspects of biotechnology and its “crop protection” chemistries. She asked Dr. Huber: 
This is a nice succinct summary of bee colony collapse syndrome. Would you mind if I use this material in a slide and attribute it to you with the notation, “Don Huber, personal communication.”



Don Immediately e-mailed back:
You are welcome to do so.  Lady Cerelli (A North Carolina beekeeper who cooperates with the Honeybee Research Centre, University of Guelph, Ontario) and Ken Hamilton (Logan, Utah) have probiotic plus mineral solutions for bees which counter glyphosate effects remarkably.
Editor’s note, added outside this discussion: Here’s a link to a YouTube video of Cerelli describing her experience.
Next, Dr. Anthony Samsel shared some of his research on colony collapse disorder. Dr. Samsel is an independent research consultant at Deerfield, New Hampshiire.  We’ve linked to several of his scientific papers which disclose the “inside story” on Monsanto’s own research with glyphosate toxicity. The series in our report at this link also leads to studies by Dr. Seneff.

I did some HPLC MSMS back in 2015 on bees and bee bread (pollen) from a hive suspected of CCD.  I found the bee bread in the hive contaminated with quantifiable amounts of glyphosate. The sacrificed bees, honey and comb also had trace amounts of glyphosate.  Most likely the glyphosate in the bees had become part of the chitin construct materials of their bodies similar to glyphosate becoming part of the collagens and enzymes of our biology.
In the analysis of the bees, the honey and comb, the recovery I obtained was unsatisfactory for precise quantification.  However, the trace amount found in these substrates appeared as a small peak which directly corresponded to Glyphosate complete with retention time and molecular features confirmation (LC/MSMS)..
I still have more bees, bee bread and honey samples from Lady Cerelli’s apiary in the freezer; these need to be analyzed.


Don immediately e-mailed back a personal note to Samsel:
Thanks for sharing.  I have been following this CCD event for several years. The concentration depends on the amount in the environment, plants and water especially. The bees which contain glyphosate and suffer CCD don’t have the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in their digestive tract, their “honey crop.” Also, the digestive system content of the GMO-glyphosate contaminated bees is granular, rather than liquid as in normal, non-contaminated bees.

Ib Pedersen rejoined the discussion, relating the colony collapse problem to his own experience battling glyphosate contamination in swine rations. His calculations (too complex to detail here) indicated that sow rations with 2.3 parts per million glyphosate in just 10% of the feed would generate glyphosate residues similar to the levels found in dead bees where CCD decimated the hives.

Dr. Samsel confirmed Ib’s observation with these comments:


I have found glyphosate in both live sacrificed bees and dead bees.  The larvae would also have glyphosate as part of its tissues too, from the fertilized eggs laid by the queen who also eats the contaminated diet.  Chicken eggs from chickens fed a glyphosate contaminated diet all contain glyphosate, as well as N-acetylglyphosate and other analogs.The queen and larvae eat the Royal jelly secreted by the bee’s glands found in the hypo pharynx of the worker bee.
The bee bread, which is a mixture of nectar, enzymes (now honey upon storage) and swollen pollen contains a complete food which is converted to a substance for Royal Jelly for the above gland secretion. The pollen is the source of proteins and fat, and the honey produced from nectar of the flowers provides the carbohydrates (sugar).
So, from my analysis of the bee bread you can see that the Royal Jelly will also be contaminated and passed up the food chain to further bio-concentrate the glyphosate in the larvae and queen…. You can also see that the honey from nectar and the bee’s enzymes is also contaminated; the glyphosate is ubiquitous. 
Dr. Huber sent a note to the group saying, “I look forward to the next chapter.” And immediately, Dr. Samsel provided the closure on what’s happening with bees.  The bee population could well be the “canary in the mine” indicating what’s happening with other species including humans.  The comment from Dr. Samsel:

The way the glyphosate gets into the honey is via digestion and INTEGRATION and secretion with the bees’ enzymes.  It works the same as what I have found in the lab analyzing the digestive enzymes of pigs. The contaminated food carries the glyphosate of which, part is bioaccumulated and integrated with the tissues, as well as the enzymes of the animal.
The digestive enzymes of the bee are complete with glyphosate after foraging.  This is not just an issue with bacteria lactobacillus and bifdo bacteria, it is a two part system which includes the contamination of the symbiont and the host together affecting all functions and with the bee, not just the digestive process and regurgitation of the honey in the hive ….  
This is how glyphosate disrupts the biology of all living things via bioaccumulation in proteins of construction, as well as the enzymes of digestion and including effects on the microbiota.  I will be writing more about this very soon as I continue my lab work.

An active, free-flowing exchange of encouragement and research like this greatly accelerates everyone’s knowledge base. Our primary purpose in summarizing this exchange is to encourage you to tie into such “threads” or mini-networks.  

Years ago at Pro Farmer, we organized seminars where participants could network with six or seven other farmers as their “board of directors” to get good counsel for themselves, while sharing experience with the others.
Now, with online discussion groups, webinars and e-mail networks, you can multiply that intellectual power at the speed of the Internet.