WASHINGTON`, D.C., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- An American Academy of Microbiology study indicates research into food and agricultural microbiology is declining, despite terrorism threats.
"The constant spread and evolution of agricultural pathogens provides a continually renewed source of challenges to productivity and food safety," said Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia, a co-author of the report. "However, research support over the last few decades has been lean and is, in fact, decreasing."
He said difficulties in recruiting and maintaining graduate students is also harming programs and will ultimately affect the field.
Doyle noted disease-causing microbes continually assault animals and crops humans raise for food. And, he said, micro-organisms continue to cause harm to the food supply beyond the farm, producing spoilage and, in some cases, poisoning and disease.
He said the global movement of agricultural products, industrial agricultural processes and the potential for malicious release of pathogens by bioterrorists add new vulnerabilities.