Environmental Impact


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•  Evaluation of data on the environmental impact of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans

Glyphosate-resistant soybeans can tolerate exposure to glyphosate – which is used in agriculture to eliminate weeds (herbicide)

  • Consequently, these transgenic crops have been widely adopted in a number of countries around the world

There are several potential environmental benefits and risks associated with the use of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans

  • These include the impact of tillage, effects on biodiversity and the potential for unintended transfer of glyphosate resistance

Impact of Tillage

  • Spraying crops with glyphosate reduces the need for tillage, which removes topsoil and increases soil erosion
  • Reducing the amount of tillage will also reduce the associated use of fossil fuels, limiting the impact of pollution

Effects on Biodiversity

  • Glyphosate has very low levels of toxicity in animal species and so is unlikely to impact population numbers in an ecosystem
  • It is also rapidly degraded by soil microbes and so is unlikely to accumulate to dangerous levels within the environment
  • However, the effect of sublethal exposure glysophate has not been well studied in most plant and animal models
  • The removal of native weed species by glysophate treatment could also adversely effect food chains – reducing biodiversity

Cross Contamination

  • Glyphosate tolerance can potentially be transferred to native species – producing weeds that are resistant to the herbicide
  • This impact can be reduced by targeting the resistance gene to chlorophyll – preventing its spread in pollen granules
  • Several species of glyphosate-resistant weeds have already been identified in the wild

Potential Environmental Consequences of the Use of Glyphosate-Tolerant Soybeans

glyphosate pros and cons