Professor Dale Sanders FRS introduces Advances; Winter 2019-2020.
As we step into the third decade of the 21st Century, we face pressing global challenges that include antibiotic resistance, the climate emergency, rapid loss of biodiversity and a growing global population. It is clear that we must act now to ensure that our society can combat these threats.
Our research into plants and microbes is key to overcoming many of these issues. Plants make up 80% of the food we eat, and they produce 98% of the oxygen we breathe. It is estimated that agricultural production must rise by approximately 60% by 2050 to feed the growing population, yet the carbon footprint of agriculture must decrease dramatically.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health, a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment and boost economic development.
The John Innes Centre, with collaborators The Sainsbury Laboratory, have an Institute Strategic Programme devoted to Plant Health. In this edition of Advances, we look at the work of this programme, and its impact, both now and into the future. We dip into how we’re using our knowledge to decarbonise agriculture, and how the diversity of plants and microbes can lead the way to a low carbon, sustainable future for agriculture, medicines and food.