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Resistant bugs challenge food security too

27 Mar 2013

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, recently said that the danger posed by growing resistance to antibiotics should be ranked along with terrorism on a list of threats to the nation as it will leave us vulnerable to diseases.

However that is just one of the dangers posed by resistance; the impact is more far-reaching than just on our health. Increased resistance to crop protection agents poses an equally serious threat to global food security.

Insects, fungi and weeds that damage crops reflect animal diseases, since they too develop resistance to treatments over time. This has been managed previously by the continual introduction of new approaches that introduce novel modes of action.

As the crop protection industry has consolidated, there are fewer organisations with the capability to invent new substances. This has resulted in fewer new products being introduced. Crop protection is responsible for retaining 30-70% of crop yield, so unless new resources and strategies are employed, resistance issues are a very major threat to future global food security.

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