Challenges for Agricultural Research

image of Challenges for Agricultural Research

As the world has changed during the past 50 years, so has agriculture. And so has agricultural research, which continues to confront new challenges, from food security to ecological concerns to land use issues. Indeed, as Guy Paillotin, the former president of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) has noted, agricultural research “has reached new heights in biology and is exploring other disciplines. It is forever changing, as are the needs of the society”.

The changing challenges faced by agricultural research were examined in depth at a conference organised by the OECD’s Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, together with the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture. Participants came from all agricultural sectors and included farmers, industry, scientists and decision makers, as well as other stake holders.

This publication presents the twenty papers delivered at the conference. They highlight recent major progress in agricultural research outcomes and address the challenges that lie ahead.



Major Trends in Mycotoxin Research

Mycotoxins, produced by fungi that colonise foods and feeds may be carcinogenic, cytotoxic, oestrogenic, immunosuppressant, nephrotoxic, neurotoxic or teratogenic compounds and pose, therefore, serious public and animal health hazards. Food and feed safety, as a major concern all over the world, is the driving force of mycotoxin research and development activity. The present study provides an overview of the major mycotoxins and mycotoxicoses including chemistry, toxicity, and detection of mycotoxins. Special attention is devoted to biodiversity, genetic variation, life cycle strategies, pathogenicity and identification of toxigenic fungi. Risk assessment and climatic models developed to predict mycotoxin contamination of crop products are considered as potential solutions of reducing the threat of mycotoxicoses. The role of storage conditions and food processing technologies in the reduction of mycotoxin concentrations are also discussed.


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