As a new report is published, BBSRC’s Adam Staines discusses the complex issues surrounding antibiotic use in the food chain.
Despite lots of wider media coverage in the last year on antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance many people are still asking basic questions about what resistance is, what is resistant to what, and why should I really care?
Any societal complacency over the importance of antimicrobial drugs is actually a testament to their success. Many of the diseases that ravaged us and our livestock industries for centuries until Alexander Fleming and penicillin came along have been so successfully controlled we no longer fear them, or even recognise the names. (The leading causes of human death in 1900 were bacterial infections causing pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and enteritis.)
Continue reading Antimicrobials in agriculture
Feeding the world is an enormous challenge. But research is commonly funded in small pots. Adam Staines wrestles this paradox.
In the UK there has been an intellectual battle to make the case for more food-related research. Though the increasing global population (9Bn by 2050) will need more food, the third of global food wasted, problems of western obesity and overeating, and well-stocked supermarkets – combined with stark imagery of European wine lakes and butter mountains from the 1980s – have made it an uphill task to persuade a sceptical western society we need more food, let alone more food research.
Continue reading Following the money: supporting food security science