Chapter 46: Mercks Attempt To Exterminate Coca And Poppies

Healthy marijuana seedling flanked by plants exposed to pathogenic fungi.

Microscopic spores of Fusarium oxysporum, a potential mycoherbicide of Cannabis.

The USDA has been tinkering with the genetic code of a dangerous fungus, trying to target and wipe out the Andean coca and poppy crops. (309) The "Fusarium" fungus may end up exterminating the drug crops and a whole lot more.

A virulent mutation of Fusarium, called "Race 3" has been a bane to Florida and Georgia farmers who have trouble controlling it with even the strongest fungicides. Around the world, Fusarium also destroys watermelons, chickpeas, basil, bananas, and hundreds of other crops.

The blight, in all its myriad permutations, can lie dormant in the soil for years without a host plant and then springs to life, causing devastating "wilt disease." Fear of introducing the disease is one reason Japan is loath to accept US produce. While some strains of this fungus are relatively harmless to most plants, other types of Fusarium can produce mycotoxins poisonous to humans. (310)

Some of the research being done on "Fusarium oxysporum" is at Ft. Detrick, Maryland - Merck's old stomping ground. (311) No doubt all of Merck's information on cocaine would prove handy - Merck built its company, in part, on coca-based medicines. (312)




(312) "History of Coca," W. Golden Mortimer, M.D., And/Or press, 1974, pp. 302, 306, 309, 315, 414, 418

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