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BIOL 2041 Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms.

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Presentation on theme: "BIOL 2041 Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms."— Presentation transcript:

1 BIOL 2041 Agriculture, the Fast Food Nation(s), and Genetically Modified Organisms

2 BIOL 2041 Outline Fast Food –Fries –Big Macs –Chicken Nuggets Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) –Risks and benefits –Types –New Areas

3 BIOL 2041 Fast Food Nation The Jungle - Upton Sinclair (1906) Super Size Me Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser –More money on fast food than higher education How has fast food changed agriculture??

4 BIOL 2041 French Fries The potato: a brief history Became popular in the 1920s in NA Important to the early success of McDonalds Potato and NA/European diet $0.30 -> $$6.00 (Profit!!!!) Of $1.50 worth of fries, $0.02 goes to farmer->corporate farms

5 BIOL 2041 Impact Fast food needs –Uniformity “One world, one taste” –Constant supply Increased productivity (Idaho) –Tonnage of potatoes (doubled) –Yield/acre (increased 30%) –Increased inputs, I.e. mechanization, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides –Need for larger farms and less farmers

6 BIOL 2041 Big Macs and you Cattle –Soil compaction –Overgrazing –Erosion –Loss of biodiversity –BSE?

7 BIOL 2041 Big Macs and you Feedlots, –Aesthetics –Runoff slaughter houses and meatpacking –Then: A respectable, well-paying union job –Enter the “disassembly line” –Now: A job for illegal, illiterate, immigrants Very dangerous

8 BIOL 2041 The Chicken Nugget History Health – very poor choice “Bulk agricultural commodity into a manufactured, value-added product” Business –Ensure constant supply –Tyson Foods Chickens

9 BIOL 2041 Genetically Modified Organisms Food supply –15 crop species and 8 livestock species = 90% of world’s food supply Artificial Selection What is a GMO? –Reduced breeding cycles –New and improved agricultural varieties

10 BIOL 2041 Pest control Insect control –Bacillus thruringiensis (Bt) –Gene for Bt toxin introduced to plants –Benefits: Decreased pesticide use –Costs: Resistance?

11 BIOL 2041 Weed control and herbicide resistance 275 million kg of herbicide/year in US Damage crops and increase pests/pathogens Herbicide resistant crops –Heavy use of herbicide –Less use: the timing must be right –Rapid break down of pesticide Transfer genes to wild species = super weed

12 BIOL 2041 New areas Pest control –2000 plants have insecticidal properties –700 substances in bacteria and fungi have fungicidal properties –What about super bugs?? Disease resistance (less fungicides) Vaccines for livestock Drought resistance –5 million l of water for 1 ha of corn

13 BIOL 2041 New Areas (cont) Salt tolerance Nitrogen fixation in crops Perennial grain crops Improve recycling of toxic wastes Improved palatability of fruits

14 BIOL 2041 Questionable areas Bovine Growth Hormone Native organisms Crops to weeds?

15 BIOL 2041 GMO,ethics, and the real world GMOs are very expensive Yields are no better than existing varieties Banned in Europe Patenting life? –The Monsanto case Is it playing God? Alternatives: Integrated Pest Management!!

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