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Chapter 35 : Antimicrobial Use in Plant Agriculture
This chapter focuses on the antibiotics and fungicides in agricultural use, problems of resistance, and effects on other organisms, particularly humans. The most common antibiotics used in plant agriculture are streptomycin and oxytetracycline, either in its hydrochloride or calcium form. Antibiotic resistance is of universal concern to human health. The antibiotics used in plant agriculture, except for kasugamycin, are also used in human clinical medicine. Azoles, used in human clinical medicine, are particularly popular in plant agriculture, because they are relatively cheap, have broad spectrum systemic action in plants for both preventive and curative effects, and are relatively stable. A potential approach to obtain new alternative antibiotics for plant agriculture might be a federal program analogous to the Orphan Drug Act. Whereas one could argue that antibiotics are of limited use in agriculture, fungicides are considered vital, necessary, and highly profitable for worldwide plant pathogen control. Data acquisition, usage, and interpretation for managing antimicrobial resistance in plant agriculture and human medicine should be coordinated. Federal and international organizations should do so as well. Such cooperation is essential to minimize and cope with microbial resistance in both plant and human pathogens.