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Understanding the challenge of resistance in agriculture

Copyright: Thinkstock
News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

BBSRC is launching a call for applications to understand how agricultural pests and diseases become resistant to the agents currently used to control them.

The problem of resistance to antibiotics is well documented. Recently, doctors in the US were unable to save the life of a woman who had an infection caused by a bacterium which was resistant to all available antibiotics. The future has the potential to become a ‘post-antibiotic era’ unless new drugs are developed or ways are found to overcome resistance in bacteria.

Less well documented is the situation in agriculture. The majority of agricultural production (including cereals, vegetables and meat) in the developed world relies on a variety of chemical agents to control weeds, fungi, insect pests and parasites. Without these agents, crop yields would be lower (and in some cases, crops would be impossible to harvest) and livestock grow more slowly, and in some cases would die prematurely.

BBSRC is keen to address these problems, and has launched a ‘Highlight’ call for research grant applications which aim to understand how resistance develops and how it spreads through populations. The information gained from this research will hopefully help to build up a clearer picture of how organisms become resistant and how we can develop new treatments and strategies to control them.

Further details about the Highlight, including information on how to apply for funding, is available on our website: Understanding the challenge of resistance in agriculture.

ENDS


Tags: food security crops farming funding livestock news