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Corn pollen is particularly prone to pollen drift. Corn plants release their pollen for around a week, and an entire field may take up to two weeks to completely release its pollen; pollen release usually shows a spike two to three days after half the plants have released their pollen. Each individual plant can produce 4 to 5 million individual pollen grains. Its pollen is among the largest particles that can be found in the air, and is spherical in its shape. It can drift up to half a mile and remain viable for several days in optimal conditions. These factors all create a considerable possibility for one corn field to cross-pollinate another, even if just a small percentage of the pollen shed by a given field drifts into a different field.
Corn producers can reduce the chance of cross-contamination via pollen drift by separating fields by at least 150 feet (46 m); however, many identity preserved corn programs require that non-GMO fields be separated from GMO corn by a distance of at least 660 feet (200 m). They may also utilize a technique called 'flooding' by surrounding their fields with a border of non-GMO corn, the theory being that these 'border rows' of corn will dilute any outside pollen, thus reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Producers can also alternate planting dates to prevent crops from releasing their pollen at similar times.
As a result of aerobiological samples taken on the Costa del Sol (S. Spain), Cannabis sativa L. (marihuana) pollen was detected from May to September 1991–1996, always sporadically and usually during the afternoons. Sampling was by two volumetric spore traps set up in Malaga and Estepona, two coastal towns approximately 90 km apart. A study of the days when this pollen was recorded points to the movement of air masses from North Africa to southern Spain. Furthermore, the isentropic air trajectories calculated for these days reinforce the possibility of the pollen originating in marihuana plantations in northern Morocco (Rif). This study demonstrates the application of aerobiology to the control of the source, quantity and phenology of the crop.
Eleven species of wild pollinators in the United States have turned up carrying some of the viruses known to menace domestic honeybees, possibly picked up via flower pollen.
Most of these native pollinators haven’t been recorded with honeybee viruses before, according to Diana Cox-Foster of Pennsylvania State University in University Park. The new analysis raises the specter of diseases swapping around readily among domestic and wild pollinators, Cox-Foster and her colleagues report online Dec. 22 in PLoS ONE.
Crops that are wind or insect pollinated are more at risk of gene dispersal than self-pollinating varieties, but there is still a significant risk despite this. It is by nature a design of plants to cross pollinate to spread genes further afield.
Maize, oil seed rape, sugar beet, barley, among others, are wind and insect pollinated, allowing pollen to travel large distances. Peas, wheat and beans are self-pollinating normally, although when conditions are favourable these species are also wind pollinated. In some cases the plants must be cross pollinated in order for the seeds to be viable.
In GM crop fields, pollen drift and insect pollination create obvious problems for nearby non-GM or organic crops. Sugar beet, Maize and oil seed rape pollen is light enough to travel long distances. Unfortunately identifying cross contaminated plants is only possible by laboratory testing
originally posted by: Vasa Croe
a reply to: buster2010
That's exactly what I am wondering...GMO crops have not been here for decades. Plenty of farmers try to prevent cross pollination through various means. What if GMO crops are somehow able to allow a virus or bacteria to live on them...say one that has over the last few years been able to adapt to travel or leach off the plant for a ride.
originally posted by: Vasa Croe
a reply to: rickymouse
Well then....haven't you subtly darkened this thread. You have obviously thought of this before. Is there another thread on this on ATS somewhere?
Have to say I like the way you think...very profiling and abstract.