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Hybrid Wheat – High yielding but with questionable traits

Einkorn Weizen


The world should be fed with higher-yielding wheat varieties. As part of the “Green Revolution”, hybrid wheats were bred, which are far more productive than the natural varieties, but also have more than just questionable properties.

Things really took off in the late 1960s

The modern farmed wheat - A true 'mass phenomenon'

Wheat is not just wheat. The grain, which is extremely important for feeding people worldwide, is no longer what it used to be. Much higher yields through special breeding or crossing, but also good for your health? The so-called hybrid wheat has many more grains than the natural variety of what is known today as single-grain wheat. However, this breeding has an expensive price.

After the countries of Pakistan and Mexico started exporting hybrid wheat in 1968, the final breakthrough followed in the early 1970s. The new wheat variety made an unbelievable “victory march”. If wheat is contained in a food today, it is usually one of the hybrid breeds. The proportion is around 99 percent. This includes, in particular, bread and pasta in every imaginable form.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with hybrid wheat

The inventor of these high-performance wheat varieties is the American and agricultural scientist Norman Ernest Borlaug (1914 – 2009). Since at that time nutritional problems and hunger were the main causes of unrest and wars, Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his hybrid wheat.
The basis for breeding new wheat varieties was genetic manipulation. The agricultural scientist created Mexico wheat by breeding a variety from Japan. This type of wheat was shorter and had stronger stalks. A prerequisite for being able to bear the greater weight due to the multi-grain structure. In India, these breeds were used to increase yields by a factor of almost three within 10 years. Other characteristics of this “super wheat” include the more elastic grain, higher yields, more complex protein and gluten structures.

The Rockefeller Foundation was heavily involved

Einkorn Weizen
This is what natural and original wheat looks like (*1

Norman E. Borlaug cooperated with the “Mexican Agricultural Program” (MAP), a program implemented by the Rockefeller Foundation between 1943 and 1965. According to the Rockefeller Foundation itself, MAP focused on techniques that could be transferred to different regions and climate zones. This gave the developing countries the hope of being self-sufficient with the modified plant varieties.
The worldwide spread of hybrid wheat was therefore a very important endeavor of the Rockefeller Foundation. Even then, superlatives were not spared. This program was also called the “Green Revolution”.

However, it is not only at the current time that new products intended for “addition to the human body” are hardly or not tested at all, but even then no series of tests were carried out with hybrid wheat. The genetically modified wheat came to the global markets almost immediately, without testing the tolerance and effects of the wheat on humans or animals.

Clearfield wheats are particularly hardy

These new varieties have another important characteristic in the “Clearfield wheat” species. Due to the genetic changes, these varieties are resistant (chemical mutagenesis) to weed killers. These are used extensively by the farmers. The weeds around the wheat are eliminated, but the GM wheat remains unharmed. The resistance of wheat also applies to weed killers Roundup® < /a>(glyphosate) from Bayer (formerly Monsanto) and Clearfield®-Clentiga® from BASF.

The highly toxic chemical sodium azide

For example, wikipedia provides the security notice:

“Hydrazoic acid is released from acidic sodium azide solutions. This is very toxic and burns the mucous membranes. Anhydrous hydrazoic acid explodes on heating and on slight agitation. Concentrated solutions must not be heated, transferred while splashing, or applied hard with the vessel. Sodium azide should not be used as a biocide in metal water baths as incrustations may form on metal surfaces which may explode if scraped off.”

Another entry on chemie.de gives also information:

“The vapors of hydrazoic acid are very toxic and corrode the mucous membranes. The hydrazoic acid is extremely explosive with spontaneous decomposition and regeneration of nitrogen.”
“Azides, including sodium azide, specifically inhibit enzymes that contain heavy metals. They are therefore extremely toxic. The azidion also has a strong antihypertensive effect. Even inhaling or ingesting small amounts (e.g. 1.5 ml of a 10% solution) results in severe symptoms of poisoning.”

The United States Department of Health CDC advises extreme caution with sodium azide, including (excerpt):

If someone swallows sodium azide, do not induce vomiting or give liquids to drink. Even if you are certain that the person has taken sodium azide, do not attempt mouth-to-mouth CPR. Performing CPR on someone who has taken sodium azide could expose you to the chemical.

Incidentally, sodium azide is also the explosive agent for airbags in cars.
In summary: Sodium azide is a real devil’s stuff.

What does sodium azide have to do with wheat?

So-called “Clearfield wheat” is made by exposing seeds and embryos to the chemical sodium azide. This achieves the desired change in the genetic information in the wheat seed. However, this gene change is never a “precision landing”, but varies with different results. Only the result of resistance to weed killers and suitable processability were important. Tests for compatibility or even harmfulness? None!

The tinkering with the wheat is far from over. In addition to resistance to chemical weed killers, you also want to achieve robustness against insect damage. Agglutinin is one of the natural defense mechanisms of wheat. This protein in the wheat stalks attacks the digestive tract of the insects and affects them to the point of death. With the new breeds, the focus was on a higher content of wheat agglutinin. With the respective stages, the proportion of this protein was constantly increased. Agglutinin in its pure form is also extremely dangerous for humans. As with insects, the intestinal mucosa is severely attacked and ultimately tears open. The protein in the bloodstream can trigger inflammation and hormonal imbalances.

Damage is already very visible

Gluten intolerance (celiac disease) has now become a mass phenomenon. Gluten intolerance only really picked up speed in the 1970s. Celiac disease usually manifests itself as an inflammatory bowel disease, according to the “ Net Doctor“. However, one cannot speak of causality here, but at most of correlation. Unless it’s the “hockey stick” to plot between CO2 and average temperature.

The renunciation of wheat is not harmful and can also be replaced with other types of grain.

(*1 Pic natural wheat: CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Hybrid Wheat – High yielding but with questionable traits
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