Science, Technology and

Sustainability
Integrated pest management,
organic food, sustainable
agriculture, genetically modified
food

Integrated Pest
Management
• Management of pests w/ combination of
natural and biological controls rather
than indiscriminate application of
pesticides
• Developed in 1959 by University of
California entymologists
• Incorporates some pre-pesticide ideas
about how to control pest problems

Steps of IPM
1. Prevention

Take steps to discourage pest build-up

2. Identify pests
3. Set action thresholds

Set a level of loss that is acceptable
Past that threshold, action is warranted

4. Control, in this order:


Mechanical control
Biological control
Chemical control

IPM Techniques
• Crop Rotation
Change crops each year to discourage pest
buildup. Disrupts life cycles of insects
• Biological control
Use living organisms to reduce pest
problems, i.e. release natural predators
• Increase natural resistance
Breed plants that are resistant to various
pests
• Genetic Engineering
Modify genes in an organism using
recombinant DNA technology

managing pests is more complex than killing them • IPM relies heavily on farming skills • Farmers must be in fields almost continually monitoring conditions .Complications of IPM • IPM philosophy: – Pests should be managed. not completely eradicated – Pesticides should be used only as a last resort. if at all – BUT.

climate • Farmers can work with local universities to develop individual programs • IPM appeals to younger.Complications of IPM • IPM must be custom-developed for each farm depending on crop. bettereducated farmers • 15-25% of farmers are practicing IPM . local insects.

Policies that support sustainable practices . local farmer’s groups) 2. Absence of subsidies and incentives for nonsustainable agricultural practices 3. government agencies. community organization as a base for implementation and sharing of knowledge B. Responsiveness to farmer’s needs A.IPM: Key elements for Success 1. partnering among institutions with two-way flow of information (university researchers.

Organic farming • Based on use of – Naturally-derived. pesticide and fertilizers – Farming practices that restore. maintain. no synthetic chemicals . biological pest controls • Difference from IPM – no genetically-modified organisms. mechanical cultivation. not synthetic. and enhance ecological harmony • Methods used – crop rotation.

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synthetic pesticides – petroleum-based or sewage sludge-based fertilizers – animal feed that contains manure. parts of slaughtered animals. or urea • Animals must have outdoor access and freedom of movement • Farming should minimize erosion and runoff .USDA National Organic Program • Not allowed: – antibiotics (for prevention) or growth hormones – genetically-modified organisms – irradiation. plastic pellets.

Biopesticides Microbial Pesticides • Contain a micro-organism as an active agent • The compound is a specific strain of bacteria: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) – Non-toxic to animals. including humans – Various strains of Bt bacteria make proteins toxic to specific classes of insects Biochemical Pesticides • Include naturally occurring substances that control pests by interfering with growth cycle .

Certification Process • Certification agencies are registered with gov’t • Fields must be organic for 3 years (transition) before they can be labeled and sold as such • Annual inspections • Must document all soil inputs in fields • Farmers must develop soil fertility and pest control plans • Buffer zone between them and conventional farms .

Organic Definitions • “100% Organic” label – only organic ingredients • “Organic” label – 95% organic ingredients • “Made with organic ingredients” label – 70% organic .

Why does organic food cost more? • Not a mass-market item (this is changing) • Produce is picked ripe. so shorter shelf-life • Environmentally-friendly practices are more labor intensive • Methods used are not subsidized by taxpayers • Therefore. consumers are paying the full cost of growing the food .

both in terms of time and money • Ideal diluted by large agribusinesses? • “Beyond organic” movement: farmers have opted out of organic certification • Some small farmers burdened by new requirements .Organic Controversies • Cost for small farmers may be prohibitive.example: new antibiotic regulations .

Shop Wisely: Organics Consider buying organic: • The “Dirty Dozen” • Dairy products or rBGH-free • Things you eat daily On the other hand: • Don’t fall for organic junk food. “organic” wild fish • Eat more locally produced whole foods (farmer’s markets. less processed food . CSAs).

EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” & “Clean 15” • Environmental Working Group lists • Updated periodically.org • Smart phone apps available .ewg.php • Description of the criteria used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested www.org/foodnews/summary. latest version http://www.foodnews.

Spinach 7. Nectarines . Potatoes 13. Strawberries 3. Celery 5.imported 12. Cucumbers 10. Snap Peas .The Dirty Dozen Plus (Buy Organic) 1. Peaches 6.imported 9. Cherry Tomatoes 11. Kale/Collard greens + . Apples 2. Grapes 4. Hot Peppers + 14. Sweet bell peppers 8.

Cabbage 5. Sweet peas . Avocados 2. Cauliflower 15. Papayas 10. Pineapples 4. Grapefruit 13. Eggplant 12. Onions 7. Asparagus 8.The Clean 15 (Lowest in Pesticides) 1. Corn 3. Sweet potatoes . Kiwi 11. Mangoes 9.frozen 6. Cantaloupe 14.

Sustainable Agriculture Integrates 3 main goals: • Environmental health • Economic profitability • Social and economic equity .

Sustainable AgricultureThemes • We must meet needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs • Stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance • Stewardship of human resources includes: – working and living conditions of laborers – the needs of rural communities – consumer health and safety in present and future .

Sustainable AgricultureThemes • A systems perspective: system is envisioned in its broadest sense. and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally • A systems approach gives tools to explore interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment • A systems approach implies interdisciplinary efforts in research and education . from the individual farm. to the local ecosystem.

retailers. realistic steps • Reaching toward goal of sustainable agriculture is responsibility of all participants in system. transition to sustainable agriculture normally requires a series of small.Sustainable AgricultureThemes • Transition to sustainable agriculture is a process: for farmers. including farmers. laborers. policymakers. and consumers . researchers.

appreciation and restoration of nature • Conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity . uncertainty and irreversibility • Ensuring appropriate valuation.More Principles: Sustainability • Dealing transparently and systemically with risk.

More Principles: Sustainability • Ensuring inter-generational equity • Recognizing the global integration of localities • A commitment to best practice • No net loss of human or natural capital • Principle of continuous improvement • The need for good governance .

and the future: – Serve cause of sustainability by choosing conservative path – Leaves society in less precarious position if chosen path turns out to be wrong path .Precautionary Principle of Sustainability • If there is risk that an action could cause harm. the burden of proof is on those who would support taking the action • If competing "experts" recommend diametrically opposing paths of action regarding resources. and lack of scientific consensus on the matter. carrying capacity. sustainability.

Biotechnology • Any technique that uses living organisms or parts of organisms to make or modify a product OR to improve an organism for a specific use • Cross breeding/selective breeding – Crossing different strains within closely related species in attempt to re-create desired characteristics • Genetic Engineering – Manipulation on molecular or genetic level to transfer specific genes .

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) • Genetic code of DNA: instructions specifying amino acid sequence of all proteins synthesized by an organism • Organisms’ inborn characteristics are determined by their DNA • The portion of DNA that codes enough information to build one protein is called a “gene” .

Advantages of Genetic Engineering (When compared to cross-breeding) • Precision – Only transfer genes that code for the characteristics you are interested in • Speed • Can involve distantly-related organisms – Tomato and fish! .

How to add a fish gene into a tomato Scientists attempted to create a frost-resistant tomato plant by adding an antifreeze gene from the cold-water flounder. a fish that can survive in very cold conditions. is known as recombinant DNA . This hybrid DNA. to the tomato: • The flounder has gene to make chemical antifreeze. This is removed from the chromosomes within a flounder cell • The antifreeze DNA is joined onto a piece of DNA called a plasmid. which is a combination of DNA from 2 different sources.

is placed in a bacterium • The bacterium is allowed to reproduce many times producing lots of copies of the recombinant DNA • Tomato plant cells are infected with the bacteria. the antifreeze gene in the plasmids.How to add a fish gene into a tomato (cont. in the bacteria. As a result. becomes integrated into the tomato plant cell DNA .) • The recombinant DNA. including the antifreeze gene.

plants are tested to see if fish gene still works and whether they are now frost resistant .How to add a fish gene into a tomato (cont.) • Tomato cells are placed in a growth medium that encourages cells to grow into plants • Tomato plant seedlings are planted • GM tomato plants contain copy of flounder antifreeze gene in every one of their cells.

“Flavr-Savr” tomato .Examples of Genetic Engineering • Medicine – Insulin • Decreased allergic response – HIV • Food Processing – Chymosin/rennet – Delayed ripening.

TJ’s say they won’t sell it . FDA review process has been stalled.Examples of Genetic Engineering • Agriculture – Insect resistant plants – Herbicide-tolerant plants • Nutrition – Increased protein quality – Increased micro-nutrient content – Decreased fat absorption • Aquaculture – GM salmon under consideration. and consumers are increasingly against approval – Whole Foods.

food ingredients.S. Department of Agriculture – Evaluates whole foods and the production process • Food and Drug Administration – Evaluates whole foods. regulation by 3 federal agencies: • Environmental Protection Agency – Evaluates the production process of creating genetically altered organisms • U.Who regulates biotechnology? In U..S. and food additives .

Concerns about Genetic Engineering • Environmental Issues – Pesticide-resistant insects – Increase in use of herbicides – Transfer of characteristics to undesirable species (outcrossing) – Decrease in biodiversity – Unintended harm to other organisms .

i. rBGH – Food allergies – Unintentional change in nutrient content – Unintended changes to DNA .Concerns about Genetic Engineering • Safety issues – “unnaturally occurring” hormones.e.

Concerns about applications of genetic engineering • Who will it benefit? – – – – • • • • Farmers in developed nations? Farmers in developing nations? People in developing countries? Biotech industry? Ethical and Religious concerns To label or not to label Anti-competitiveness in the seed industry Anti-trust issues .

Cloned Animals • In January. pigs and goats and their offspring is safe to eat • USDA immediately cleared the offspring of cloned animals for sale but asked owners of clones to continue to observe a voluntary moratorium on marketing them • USDA is working with industry representatives on a plan to usher clones into the food supply . the FDA concluded that food from cloned cattle. 2008.

Cloned Animals Controversy • Consumer groups maintain FDA's study based on insufficient evidence. which often produces malformed newborns • Biodiversity issues . are pushing for government programs to track and label food derived from cloning • Animal welfare organizations also object to cloning.