As the human population continues to grow, ever greater demands are placed on food production. In this article in Microbiology Today, Monica Winstanley and Celia Caulcott ask, what contribution can microbiologists make to ensure that the supply of food to all people is secure in this uncertain and changing world?
Around 800 million people lack food security, which means they do not have adequate access to safe and nutritious food. The global population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, and demand for food is likely to increase further because of growing affluence and urbanization, climate change and competition for land. Research can make a unique contribution to averting a potentially greater crisis: by increasing yields and reducing losses in crop and livestock production; by optimizing food processing, manufacture and distribution; by reducing waste and losses due to spoilage; and by understanding and addressing economic and social factors that shape consumers’ needs.