The world is aware of the overuse of antibiotics and the development of resistance in bacterial populations. This has led to calls for greater control and monitoring of their use in both human and veterinary medicine. What is less well known is that antibiotics are routinely used in crop production, and according to new research, are being recommended far more frequently and on a much greater variety of crops than previously thought.
The use of antibiotics to control plant diseases is not new; they have been used for decades on crops like apples and pears and represent an effective means of controlling some bacterial diseases. However, the extent of their use worldwide has been little studied and is largely unknown.