Adverse Effects of Glyphosate on the Soil and Environment After 20 Years


Dear Friends and Colleagues

Adverse Effects of Glyphosate on the Soil and Environment After 20 Years

Glyphosate is the active ingredient of formulated herbicides including Roundup (manufactured by Monsanto) and is the most widely used herbicide compound in the world. Worldwide use is estimated at 1.35 million metric tons as of 2017. Major crops including soybean, maize, cotton, canola, sugar beet and alfalfa are genetically engineered (GE) to resist the herbicidal action of glyphosate.

Although glyphosate use has increased nearly 15-fold since 1996 when glyphosate-resistant GE crops were first introduced, it is only within the last 5-10 years that assessment of its detrimental effects on soil and environmental health have become the focus of intensive research efforts. A journal article entitled “Soil and Environmental Health after Twenty Years of Intensive Use of Glyphosate”reports that glyphosate and its primary metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are now frequently detected in ground and surface waters and in some marine environments.

Research reveals numerous potential adverse effects on biological organisms and their functions such as: immobilization of nutrients essential for metabolic processes in microorganisms and plants; disruption of microbial diversity in plant rhizospheres; disruption of earthworm activity; and reduction in growth and reproduction of numerous aquatic organisms including Daphnia spp.

The author calls for long-term studies on persistence on sites receiving annual application and on those that are no longer under GE cropping systems to determine the extent of any carryover of residual glyphosate andAMPA. Long-term studies should also include agricultural management variations. He suggests that rotations to non-GE crops and to non-glyphosate herbicides as well as including cover crops in the crop production system may likely overcome the long-term adverse effects of glyphosate and AMPA residues.

The full paper can be viewed at

With best wishes,

Third World Network
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