Tag Archives: plants

Chlorpyrifos: Mr. Pruitt, the science has been reviewed

Dear Mr. Pruitt, I hope you can help me out here. I’ve been having trouble explaining your recent decision in favor of the pesticide chlorpyrifos while dismissing years of work by EPA scientists to my environmental toxicology students. This is a chemical that interferes with the normal processes of the brain causing both acute toxicity – […]

Another one bites the dust, nature conquers bioengineering — again

And another one bites the dust. Corn rootworms, once the scourge of corn growers, stymied by corn engineered to produce Bt toxin (a crystalline toxin that basically pokes holes in the guts of these worms) are back. No matter how you feel about bioengineering, this is bad news because it can only lead to increased […]

Nature’s chemical warfare: an evolving struggle

Cross posted from Island Press Field Notes The story of the black swallowtail and Queen Anne’s lace is really the story of one of the premier chemical defense systems known. These are the cytochrome P450s, or CYPs, and we now know there are thousands of different CYPs across all kingdoms of life. Every one of us relies […]

Sometimes, Enough is as good as a feast in the war between plants and animals

A recent study brings to mind the English proverb “Enough is as good as a feast.” Sometimes “enough” can save your life if you are a woodrat forced to dine on Juniper.  The study also provides a couple of nice examples of life’s response to biologically produced toxins in the context of the endless war […]