DOI: 10.1094/phyto-10-23-0357-ia ISSN: 0031-949X

The Use and Impact of Antibiotics in Plant Agriculture: A Review

Ozgur Batuman, Kellee Britt-Ugartemendia, Sanju Kunwar, Salih Yilmaz, Lauren Fessler, Ana Redondo, Kseniya Chumachenko, Shourish Chakravarty, Tara Wade
  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Growers have depended on the specificity and efficacy of streptomycin and oxytetracycline as a part of their plant disease arsenal since the middle of the twentieth century. With climate change intensifying plant bacterial epidemics, the established success of these antibiotics remains threatened. Our strong reliance on certain antibiotics for devastating diseases eventually gave way to resistance development. Though antibiotics in plant agriculture equal to less than 0.5% of overall antibiotic use in the US, it is still imperative for humans to continue to monitor usage, environmental residues, and resistance in bacterial populations. This review provides an overview of the history and use, resistance and mitigation, regulation, environmental impact, and economics of antibiotics in plant agriculture. Bacterial issues, such as the ongoing Huanglongbing (citrus greening) epidemic in Florida citrus production, may need antibiotics for adequate control. Therefore, preserving the efficacy of our current antibiotics by utilizing more targeted application methods, such as trunk injection, should be a major focus.

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