Glyphosate and Roundup

The active chemical in Roundup is called glyphosate, which is currently the subject of mass-district litigation and through individual lawsuits.

Glyphosate was originally a disinteresting chemical to scientists when it was discovered in 1950 by Swiss chemist Henry Martin. Glyphosate, as originally patented, sat dustily on a shelf and was rarely, if ever, produced.

Monsanto Purchases Glyphosate Chemistry

However, in 1970, Monsanto was very keen to advance the knowledge behind pesticides and funded a multitude scientific endeavors, which were aimed toward discovering and utilizing new chemicals as pesticides. Dr. John Franz led one of those research groups, which operated within the Monsanto corporation, and in 1970, he completed his third creation: glyphosate.  

It is likely that Monsanto was initially unaware of the previous history of the chemical, and they were able to secure a patent for glyphosate with an intended use as an herbicide, which is different use than the original inventor intended.

Monsanto Repurposes Glyphosate for Agricultural Use

In 1972, another group of scientists at Monsanto (led by Dr. E. Jaworski) observed that spraying glyphosate on plants resulted in stifling creation of unspecified amino acids within the plant. These particular amino acids are essential to most plant’s metabolism. Armed with the knowledge that glyphosate was an ideal pesticide, Monsanto introduced Roundup to the commercial market in 1974. It flew off the shelves and increased farm yields as compared against competing products.

Roundup and 1985

It wasn’t until 1980 that Professor N. Amrhein and his co-workers identified the specifics of the metabolic interference caused by introduce glyphosate into a plant’s system. Essentially, the chemical builds up and blocks pathways which are required for the plant to create energy. This in turn kills the plant. The Roundup product line as it used today was finalized in 1985, with the addition of a surfactant, which allowed glyphosate to enter plant (and animal) systems in much larger volumes.

Monsanto and Beyer

On June 7, 2018, German pharmaceutical giant Beyer AG officially bought Monsanto, including their proprietary Roundup© line of products.

The Dose Makes the Poison

Glyphosate is everywhere and fat soluble. Over time, glyphosate will be stored in the fatty portions of the human body, in the same way that some essential vitamins and minerals can be stores. Depending on an individual’s, it is likely only a matter of time before glyphosate accumulation reaches a critical threshold in a person and compromises the body’s immune system.