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MVP Bt insecticide
I encountered the following comment by an organic farmer on a web
site: "This year I've also tried to keep a regular schedule for
spraying organic pesticide on the cabbage, tomato, eggplant and potato
plants. I use "MVP" from Gardens Alive. Most of the "organic" pesticides
are made from Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) which is a type of bacterium
that kills only leaf eating insects after they have ingested sprayed
leaf material. This seems to help, although it's still very difficult to
get good looking cabbages since some damage will always occur. Speaking
of cabbages, one year I tried to use an insect barrier, a loosely woven
white cloth material over the cabbage beds. It's sold specifically for
this purpose. However, the plants didn't grow very well, and I suspect
that the material also traps heat which the cabbages don't like that much."
MVP is a genetically engineered version of Bt. Pseudomonas fluorescens
cells can be engineered to produce the B.t. delta-endotoxins without
production of a spore. The crystal protein remains inside the P.
fluorescens cell wall. In the products MVP and M-Trak, the P.
fluorescens cell is killed after it produces the crystal protein. When
the product is applied, the delta-endotoxin remains protected within the
now dead cell wall. In this way, the B.t. delta-endotoxin retains its
effectiveness for two to three times longer than other B. t.
formulations. MVP and M-Trak were the first genetically engineered
produces to k registered by EPA, since the transgenic organism was not
alive when released into the environment.
However, it should be mentioned that bacteria enjoy sex after death, in
the sense that the Bt genes are transferred to other soil bacteria
efficiently. Such transfer is now well documented in scientific reports.
The question is "is MVP an organic pesticide even though it is
genetically engineered?" If MVP is allowed in organic product should we
pretend that its "death" is significant, even though it carries on "sex"
(gene exchange) after death? Finally, we might ask, "does Elvis still
have sex? :-\ "
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