Animal miscarriages from new fungus or virus in Roundup-read crops?

Jill Richardson publishes a letter from Col. (Ret.) Don M. Huber, Emeritus Professor, Purdue University, who is APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS). It begins:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!
What’s an “electron microsope pathogen”?
Unique Physical Properties

This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

Pathogen Location and Concentration

It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.

Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease

The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).

Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure

Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.

The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.

For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate.

Well, I’m sure that couldn’t affect humans, though, right? Well, of course if you ignore the research that’s been done in Argentina and France….

Col. Huber sent this letter before USDA approved Roundup-ready alfalfa. Dr. Huber is not a newbie. As he says in his letter:

I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.
According to his bio at the 2010 Acres conference:
Dr. Don Huber is professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Idaho, a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

He was cereal pathologist at the University of Idaho for 8 years before joining the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology at Purdue University in 1971. His agricultural research the past 50 years has focused on the epidemiology and control of soilborne plant pathogens with emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and physiology of host-parasite relationships. Research also includes nitrogen metabolism, micronutrient physiology, inhibition of nitrification, and nutrient-disease interactions. In addition to his academic positions and research, he is internationally recognized for his expertise in the development of nitrification inhibitors to improve the efficiency of N fertilizers, interactions of the form of nitrogen, manganese and other nutrients in disease, herbicide-nutrient-disease interactions, techniques for rapid microbial identification, and cultural control of plant diseases.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence points out that Dr. Huber
coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens committee of the American Phytopathological Society.
This is somebody who should know what he’s talking about, and his letter calls for many other researchers to investigate what he thinks he’s found. Too bad Sec. Vilsack didn’t listen. Maybe too bad for all of us.