This is the fourth of a series of articles that I will write to explain and outline the advantages of genetically modifying food and organisms. Before moving forward, I should point out that I will discuss some of the disadvantages to genetic changes to crops, but that will come after this series is over. Sign up on the right of the blog to receive updates directly to your email inbox to ensure you don’t miss any part of the series.
Read other articles in this series here.
Frost, especially when unexpected, can completely destroy seedlings. This is more so when the seedlings are of a sensitive nature, such as strawberries.
To explain briefly, these are the main points:
- Frost is caused when the temperature of a solid surface is below the freezing point of water, and also below the frost point. Frost damages crops and reduces future crop yields.
- Plants likely to be damaged include beans, grapes, melons, as well as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
- Several of the current prevention methods are expensive and capital-intensive.
That’s the general gist of the arguments against using non-genetically modified methods. Let’s dive deeper into these concerns.
Frost Damages Crops And Reduces Future Crop Yields
When frost is formed on plants and crops, it affects their systems. But the most dangerous of these is when the frost is formed on seedlings, as this completely incapacitates the plant from growing. In colder climates, farmers regularly face problems in dealing with frost.
Plants Likely To Be Damaged Are Staples
Many of the plants that are likely to be damaged from frost also happen to be the staple food of several cultures around the world. When plantations and farms are affected by frost, this may lead to shortages around the world of the plants. So not only is frost harmful to the farmer, but it also affects people from around the world who depend on the harvests of these farmers to go about their normal lives.
Current Prevention Methods Are Expensive
The methods that farmers currently use to prevent frost is called the selective inverted sink. This prevents frost by drawing cold air from the ground and blowing it up through a chimney. Because this is not very cost-effective and efficient, in recent times helicopters have been used to drag down the warmer air and prevent cold air from staying close to the ground.
The use of helicopters is problematic on so many different levels. First of all, just one helicopter can not deal with a large farm. It is not uncommon to find more than a hundred of these aircraft working on a single large plantation. This means that either the farmer finds a way to fund these methods and spend millions or dollars, or be left with the chance of his crop being destroyed.
Furthermore, defrosting methods such as these have to be done at night because that is when the cold air accumulates near the ground, causing frosting in the morning. Having more than a few helicopters flying around a field at night is not only dangerous, it can lead to death.
Scientists have been working, and have successfully introduced an antifreeze gene from cold water fish into plants such as tobacco and potatoes. With this gene, plants are able to tolerate cold temperatures and frost.
This is the fourth part of this series. There are several other benefits such as pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, disease resistance, pharmaceuticals, etc. Enter your email address below to get these articles directly in your inbox when they are posted. You will also get a free ebook that explains the basics of GM food and GMO. It contains everything you need to know to be able to dive deeper into these discussion in your own research as well as in conversation with your colleagues and friends. Sign up below!