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April 2, 2000


carefull folks


- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

We need to be careful about such mistakes as the following one
(below): B. thuringiensis and B. anthracis are not the same
species. They are in the same GENUS, Bacillus.

Matt Metz
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
UC Berkeley

On 31 Mar 2000, AgBioView wrote:

> - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com
> Dear Friends: As I have received many postings to Agbioview, I have
> combined a few of them below and in the next few postings.
> - Prakash
> In similar vein but on a different topic...
> The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis is the only approved organic
> pesticide, yet it is the same SPECIES as anthrax (B. anthracis) and
> the common food poisoning bacterium, Bacillus cereus (the food
> poisoning toxin is chromosomally encoded; the genus-specific toxins of
> B. anthracis and B. thuringiensis are plasmid-encoded). Epidemics of
> food poisoning and at least one death have been attributed to spraying
> of B. thuringiensis. The broader concern is that, with 500 tons of the
> live bacterium sprayed each year in the USA, it is now coming into
> regular contact with B. anthracis and B. cereus, inevitably leading to
> transfer of the minor genetic material (plasmid) that until now has
> differentiated their separate pathogenicities
> (http://www.newscientist.com/ns/19991009/newsstory8.html;
> http://www.newscientist.com/ns/19990529/newsstory1.html).
> Why is it deemed acceptable (desirable even, by the organics industry)
> to spray this intact, living pathogenic bacterium on our fresh food
> crops for pest control, yet unacceptable to use a single, defined,
> well-characterised product from the organism?
> Dr Ken C Reed