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CULT: Agricultural Antibiotics/Agrimycin

From: vince lewonski <vincelewonski@yahoo.com>

> In a message dated 12/3/99 7:49:56 AM Eastern Standard
> Time, 
> cathy@pav.research.panasonic.com writes:
> <<  There was an article in a recent AIS bulletin where
> someone mentioned 
> having 
>  some success with a product called Agrimycin (sp???) for
> help with bacterial 
>  soft rot. Does anyone know anyplace where I can get this
> or can tell me more 
>  about it? >>

--- HIPSource@aol.com wrote:
> This is an agricultural antibiotic and may be available
> at a farm supply 
> store. It is used for, among other things, combating
> fireblight disease on 
> fruit trees. It is a very powerful agricultural chemical
> of last resort. 
> However, I believe there are important ethical issues to
> be raised about the 
> use of antibiotics in agriculture, and about the use of
> any treatments of 
> last resort on ornamental plants, especially in home
> gardens. 
> l am not knowledgeable enough to speak with any authority
> on the scientific 
> aspects of this, and thus will evoke Ian below, but I
> will tell you that I 
> learned about AgriStrep some years ago and purchased
> some, but I will never 
> use it in this garden. Period. There is no plant in this
> garden important 
> enough to use antibiotics on it. Period. And I don't want
> any plant that 
> requires that kind of chemical arsenal. Period.  
> One very scary thing is that people really go to town
> with these antibiotics. 
> I've heard of chemicals which are effective in a solution
> of one quarter 
> teaspoon of powder per gallon of water being dusted on
> like Comet. It is 
> simply appalling. 
> I'm taking the liberty of including portions of two posts
> made in the distant 
> past by Ian Efford on related issues. They resonate in my
> mind to this day. 
> <<<<<<<It is absolutely essential that we use any
> antibiotics sparingly and
> only when there is no alternative.  It might even be
> better to throw the 
> plant away and try another variety.  Deaths from bacteria
> that are resistant 
> to all known antibiotics are increasing.  This is largely
> because of mis-use, 
> particularly over-subscription by doctors. (etc.)
> ----------------------
> .....mentioned drenching a whole bed with tetracycline to
> treat against rot.  
> This seems to be scientifically irresponsible. Firstly,
> there are hundreds of 
> species of bacteria and fungi in the bed that are playing
> vital roles in the 
> breakdown of organic matter into nutrients, etc. An
> indiscriminate use of an 
> antibiotic will affect at least a number of these
> species, other more 
> resistant forms will replace them and the balance of
> nature in the bed will 
> be destroyed, at least for a while.  You may not 
> affect the fertility in the long run but you could over a
> short period (a 
> year??). Secondly, the bacteria that generate diseases,
> such a rot, are 
> almost always 
> present in the environment.  They are only effective in
> attaching organisms 
> when the conditions weaken the organism (whether it is an
> iris or humans).  
> One way of reducing resistance to disease is to remove
> the disease.  
> Tetracycline used to eliminate the disease might, in the
> long run, result in 
> a greater death rate in the irises.Thirdly, the human
> population is suffering 
> severely from more and more diseases that are resistant
> to antibiotics.  We 
> have flesh eating disease, 
> TB etc. outbreaks where no antibiotics work.  This is
> because the public 
> forces the doctors to perscribe antibiotics when one is
> not need and the 
> bacteria develop resistance.  Tetracyline was once held
> back as the final 
> defense but overuse has meant that defense is no longer
> available.  The more 
> we use antibiotics where they are not essential, the
> greater chance we have 
> of bacterial disease in humans becoming uncontrollable.

> In my view, if you 
> have to use an antibiotic, be very specific, use it on
> the plant not on the 
> environment.  Try to avoid the need by changing the
> planting conditions so 
> that the plants are better able to resist the 
> disease.  Alternatively, as someone has mentioned on the
> list, discard the 
> plant and find a resistant variety. Sorry for the
> diatribe but this is an 
> important point.>>>
> Anner Whitehead
> HIPSource@aol.com
   V. sez:
   Oh boy.
   FIRST: Any chemical that can be applied to fruit trees
can't be that dangerous, due to the large industrial
sprayers needed to apply it in a less than precise fashion,
and due to the fact that the crop ends up in our gizzards. 
   SECOND: Other chemicals are used widely to combat rot,
such as bleach, sulfur, and Comet. No one seems to have a
problem with their use, even though misuse of them (or any
chemical) is also possible. There is a demand for products
such as Agrimycin because bleach, sulfur and Comet often
don't solve the problem. And I would be less concerned with
having it applied to an ornamental than to something that
goes in my mouth.
   THIRD: I read a request for info on Agrimycin. I did not
see anything there suggesting that it would be applied at a
concentration in excess of what is recommended, nor that it
would be applied as a drench to the whole garden, nor that
Tetracycline would be used. Some of us actually read the
directions on the bottle...
   FOURTH: Why is treating rot considered an environmental
hazard while spraying more dangerous chemicals for borer
control and leaf spot are not?
   FIFTH: Going from applying Agrimycin to a couple of
rhizomes to mutant E. coli and flesh eating bacteria seems
a bit of a stretch. We're talking about Erwinna here, which
is not killing off old folks in England, and which has not
been dosed with every known antibiotic while in humans by
members of the A.M.A.
   SIXTH: While some varieties may be more susceptible to
rot than others, I have not heard of any bearded iris that
is immune from rot. So the possibility exists that any
rhizome in my backyard could get rot and kick off. It's
luck of the draw. To suggest that the few that do get rot
should always be considered inferior plants and heaved
seems drastic. Especially if it's a $50 introduction...

   Vince "Better Living Through Chemistry" Lewonski
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