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It's History (in the United States)
AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro)
is no longer being marketed in this country

The most prominent use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in fertilizer, fungicide, pesticide, and plant growth enhancer products has been in a product called AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro).  According to the label, AuxiGro contains 29.2% "L-glutamic acid" as an active ingredient, 29.2% GABA as a second active ingredient, and 41.6% inert ingredients.  In truth, however, AuxiGro contains more than 29.2% processed free glutamic acid (MSG), because there is additional processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in the inert ingredients, and inert ingredients -- even if poisonous or carcinogenic -- don't have to be disclosed.  We know from government documents that hydrolyzed casein (milk) protein & additional processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be found among AuxiGro's inert ingredients.  Based on discussions of AuxiGro's ingredients found elsewhere, we think that processed free glutamic acid (MSG) makes up a little over 17 percent of AuxiGro's inert ingredients.

AuxiGro is, or was, manufactured by Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly known as Auxein Corporation) of Lansing, Michigan.  On their Emerald BioAgriculture Web site Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture told us that,

"AuxiGro, the first GABA technology-based product, was test marketed in 1998 and has been in commercial use since 1999. Use of AuxiGro at the proper timing results in enhanced flowering, increased fruit size, greater yields (typically 10-30%), improved quality characteristics (e.g., increased sugar content) and disease suppression. AuxiGro™ is the first EPA registered commercial, naturally occurring product to consistently offer this broad array of benefits on a wide variety of crops. AuxiGro's high level of biological activity allows for low rates of application (generally 4 ounces per acre) and ease of application for the grower using standard practices. AuxiGro is stable, with on-going studies now demonstrating a shelf-life in excess of two years under normal storage conditions. The product is compatible with pesticides, fertilizers, and other agricultural materials and is commonly tank-mixed with such materials for convenience of application by the end user. AuxiGro provides a high rate of return, at least 3:1, to the user." (Quote taken August 20, 2002)
Note that while Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture seemed to be proud of its product, Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture also appeared to be concerned that if people knew that there was processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro, they wouldn't want to use it.  Emerald BioAgriculture didn't say that in so many words; but we know that there is more processed free glutamic acid (MSG) than GABA in AuxiGro -- yet nowhere on the Emerald BioAgriculture Web site is there mention of glutamic acid, L-glutamic acid, or processed free glutamic acid (MSG).

Note, also, that Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture calls AuxiGro a "naturally occurring product."  Industry places great value on being able to call something "natural" or "naturally occurring," and has convinced large segments of the population that "naturally occurring" means "safe" or "good." We won't argue the fact that by industry definition, the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and GABA in AuxiGro are "naturally occurring."  We must point out, however, that by industry definition, salmonella, e-coli, West Nile virus, and arsenic are "naturally occurring," too.

There was a second AuxiGro Web page that contained additional information -- or, from our point of view, that contained additional misrepresentation.  It was the original Web site of Auxein Corporation -- from before Auxein and Mycotech merged to create Emerald BioAgriculture; and it appeared not to have been updated since the year 2000.  In 2002, it read, in part:

AuxiGro™ Plant Metabolic Primer

"AuxiGro Plant Metabolic Primer contains 29.2% by weight, pharmaceutical grade, L-glutamic acid. The L-glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is chemically and biologically identical to that found in plants and animals."
The essence of the campaign of half-truths and misrepresentations used to convince the public that use of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) and AuxiGro are "safe" is found in these last two statements.  The statements are used for propaganda purposed by both Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture, manufacturer of AuxiGro, and Ajinomoto, Co., Inc., the worlds largest producer of the food ingredient "monosodium glutamate" -- which contains processed free glutamic acid (MSG) that is very likely identical to the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) used in AuxiGro.  The deception relies on the very high probability that the reader will come away believing that the glutamic acid "used in AuxiGro is... identical to that found in plants and animals."  But that isn't true.  The glutamic acid found in plants and animals is L-glutamic acid, only.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  In contrast, the glutamic acid "used in AuxiGro" is a manufactured product that contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other contaminants in addition to L-glutamic acid.  It may be true that the L-glutamic acid used in AuxiGro and the L-glutamic acid found in plants and animals are biochemically and biologically identical; but the glutamic acid used in AuxiGro -- which is called  L-glutamic acid -- is not biochemically and biologically identical to the L-glutamic acid found in plants and animals because the glutamic acid used in AuxiGro contains more than L-glutamic acid.  It contains contaminants.

The Auxein Web page continued, telling us that:

"L-glutamic acid, also called glutamate, is a naturally occurring amino acid found in all living organisms. All plants contain large amounts of glutamate. Foods, such as milk, cheese, meat, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and mushrooms, all contain glutamate (see Table 1).  The average American consumes about 11 grams of glutamate a day...."
"Table 1" is made up of a list of food items reprinted from a chapter in a book published in 1979.  Next to each food item, the reader will find the amount of L-glutamic acid said to be found in free form in those foods.  The figures given in "Table 1" came from a variety of studies, some of which were done long before 1979.

In interpreting "Table 1," Auxein told us that,

"The amount of [glutamic acid] applied to crops as AuxiGro is extremely small compared to the amount of free glutamate already there."
Why is this discussion of "Table 1" deceptive and misleading?

First, we could, if we chose to, argue that the amount of the glutamic acid applied to crops as AuxiGro is not extremely small.  We could point out that:

1. Amounts of free glutamic acid are given in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g).  The amounts of free glutamic acid given are extremely small.

2. The data given in "Table 1" come from a chapter in a book published in 1979.  The data were not original at that time, but came from a variety of sources.  Moreover, those data had been collected years before, when methods used for analyzing amounts of free glutamic acid were less precise than they are today, and amounts of free glutamic acid would have been overstated.

3. Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture provided no information on the relationship between amount of AuxiGro applied to crops, the amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) left on the surface of crops and absorbed into the crops, and the amounts of additional glutamic acid generated in those crops following application.

4. Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture did not tell us how much processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be found in and on crops when brought to market.

We could make those arguments, but, the relative amount of glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is relatively unimportant.  The important factor is the kind of glutamic acid used in AuxiGro.
Any free glutamic acid found in or on crops that have not been treated with processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be L-glutamic acid, only.  L-glutamic acid does not cause adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people.

Any free glutamic acid applied to crops in AuxiGro will be processed free glutamic acid (MSG).  In addition to L-glutamic acid, the glutamic acid in AuxiGro will contain contaminants.  Processed free glutamic acid (MSG) causes adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people.

Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture can not demonstrate that the amount of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) used in AuxiGro will not cause adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people.  On the other hand, we personally know a number of MSG-sensitive people who reacted to potatoes, head lettuce, and broccoli treated with AuxiGro before any of us knew that AuxiGro existed.

Thus, the lie to "Table 1," if you will, is that the glutamic acid in most of the foods listed in "Table 1" is L-glutamic acid, only. (The exception is the cheese, which is a manufactured product.)  L-glutamic acid does not cause adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people.  The glutamic acid applied to crops as AuxiGro is a manufactured product that contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other contaminants in addition to L-glutamic acid.  The glutamic acid applied to crops as AuxiGro is the same glutamic acid found in the food ingredient called "monosodium glutamate."  It causes adverse reactions in MSG-sensitive people.

There was one more deceptive and misleading statement on the Auxein Web page that we were pleased to expose.  That statement read:

"To the human body, glutamate from any source is the same."
Here, in typical industry fashion, the word "source" is not defined.

To the human body, L-glutamic acid coming from unprocessed, unfermented, unadulterated corn protein is identical to L-glutamic acid coming from unprocessed, unfermented, unadulterated milk protein or unprocessed, unfermented, unadulterated fish protein, for example.  The food (sources) from which the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) comes doesn't seem to matter.  However, truly natural glutamic acid (the glutamic acid found in plants and animals -- which is L-glutamic acid, only) is not the same as manufactured glutamic acid (which contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and contaminants in addition to its L-glutamic acid.)  The way in which the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) has been manufactured determines what contaminants will accompany the L-glutamic acid.

We mentioned previously that there is no mention of glutamic acid, L-glutamic acid, or processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on the Emerald BioAgriculture Web page.  It is interesting to note the while Federal Register notices included the fact that there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro, the sales literature on the Auxein Web page did not mention the fact that AuxiGro contains free glutamic acid until the Truth in Labeling Campaign began to broadcast that information. In November, 1999, Auxein added deceptive, misleading, and untrue statements in an elaboration of the Product Page on its Web site, wherein they essentially make the untrue assertion that the glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is chemically and biologically identical to that found in plants and animals.

Finally, in testimony to its safety, a copy of the AuxiGro label from the Auxein 2000 Web page included the following:

"PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS

HAZARDS TO HUMAN AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS – CAUTION"

AuxiGro, the first plant "growth enhancer" to hit the market, has been approved for spraying on every crop we know of. Even before consumers had an inkling that crops were being sprayed, the Truth in Labeling Campaign received reports that MSG-sensitive consumers had gotten sick from russet potatoes, head lettuce, and broccoli -- produce that had been approved for spraying with AuxiGro.

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California was the only state that had restrictions on AuxiGro use.. But Auxein/Emerald BioAgriculture was chipping away at the restrictions.  It would appear, however, than on December 31, 2007, Emerald BioAgriculture did not renew its registration in California, and reliable sources tell us that AuxiGro is no longer sold in the United States.

The subject of what's wrong with eating nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables treated with AuxiGro is covered in detailed on a MSGfacts.net Web page titled What's wrong with spraying processed free glutamic acid (MSG) on seeds, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables as they grow?
 

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The content on this page was last updated on March 3, 2008