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Agricultural production systems can serve as reservoir for human pathogens

Food-borne diseases are a threat to human health and can cause severe economic losses. Nowadays, in a growing and increasingly interconnected world, food-borne diseases need to be dealt with in a global manner. In order to tackle this issue, it is essential to consider all possible entry routes of human pathogens into the production chain. Besides the post-harvest handling of the fresh produce itself, also the prevention of contamination in livestock and agricultural soils are of particular importance. While the monitoring of human pathogens and intervening measures are relatively easy to apply in livestock and post-harvest, the investigation of the prevention strategies in crop fields is a challenging task. Furthermore, crop fields are interconnected with livestock via fertilizers and feed; therefore, a poor hygiene management can cause cross-contamination. In this review, we highlight the possible contamination of crop plants by bacterial human pathogens via the rhizosphere, their interaction with the plant and possible intervention strategies. Furthermore, we discuss critical issues and questions that are still open.

Schierstaedt, J.; Grosch, R.; Schikora, A. (2020). Agricultural production systems can serve as reservoir for human pathogens. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 366;

DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fnaa016.