Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Going viral: Global food security under threat from crop and livestock diseases

By Andi Horvath

Virologist and infectious diseases expert Prof John Fazakerley details the myriad threats to the global food supply from pathogen infestations in crops and livestock, and how new genetic and surveillance technologies are lending hope to keeping them in check.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.


I'm Dr Andi Horvath. Thanks for joining us. Today we bring you up close to our relentless struggle with infectious diseases in our agricultural livestock and food crops. They not only threaten farmers' livelihoods and national economies, but the very security of the global food supply. Food security can be said to exist when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. But we're nowhere near that, yet. We exist in a world where 30 percent of people are starving, while the planet's human population continues to surge. With shrinking global water resources and arable land, increased pollution and changes in climate and our food choices, it's not looking good for food security. Added to the mix are the pests and diseases that impact on our food supply and the human and natural factors driving their infection or transmission. But, according to our guest on this episode, it's not all bad news. Thanks to advances in surveillance, gene technologies and international cooperation, we can better track and address plant and livestock diseases. Yet, the situation remains daunting. So do we stand a chance of keeping on top of what...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.