Healthy Plants, Healthy Humans
As the adage goes, “you are what you eat!” and plants are the ultimate source of virtually everything we eat. Even meat animals are dependent on plants. And phytonutrients--nutrients derived from plants, are essential to human health. Beta-glucans found in oats reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables (especially orange fleshed carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes) are high in vitamin A, important for healthy eyesight, the human immune system, and digestion. And flavonoids found in chocolate can improve learning and memory and help to prevent and even treat brain disorders. Plants gave us medicines like aspirin and the anti-cancer taxol--and plant compounds continue to be tested for novel medicinal properties. We depend on plants. But plants are under attack! Pathogens and pests can cause 10-40% losses in major food crops!
Globally, plant pathologists work to keep plants healthy. Similar to human disease experts, plant pathologists study the transmission and spread of plant diseases, research plant pathogen biology, and devise science-based approaches to sustainably mitigate plant disease impacts in agricultural fields and natural environments.
Investment in public academic institutions facilitates training of a next generation of plant pathologists and other plant scientists positioned to protect the world’s food supply. Research conducted in government labs, industry, non-profits, and academic institutions is positioned to generate new knowledge of plant diseases. Collaborations and partnerships are essential to putting that knowledge into the hands of farmers, homeowners, and others committed to the management of plant diseases. Together we can minimize crop losses and feed the world sustainably. Speak out in support of plant pathology. Speak out in support of research funding in plant health. Plant health is YOUR health!