Microscopic fungi that attack agriculture and infect crops could threaten the world’s food supply, scientists have warned.
• Read also: A “water war” threatens the production of the vegetable garden of Europe
• Read also: The world must prepare for record temperatures caused by El Nino
“We are already seeing massive crop losses due to fungal infections, which could sustain millions of people each year. This worrying trend can only get worse with a warming world,” Eva Stukenbrock, co-author of an article in the science journal Nature and professor at the University of Kiel in Germany, told The Guardian on Wednesday. .
Because of global warming, fungal infections, which are among the greatest destroyers of food crops, have been moving at a rate of 7 km north each year since the 1990s, according to the report.
The problem is that these very resistant mushrooms would be able to move a long distance thanks to the wind.
They would also adapt quickly to their environment, already managing to develop resistance to certain fungicides.
Producers would also lose between 10% to 23% of their crops due to fungal diseases, which would equate to annual losses that could feed hundreds of millions of people around the world, continued the British media.
While the concept of fungal infections has recently been popularized by The Last of Us series, where fungi infect humans directly, fellow co-author and Professor Sarah Gurr, from the University of Exeter in the UK, s worried to see a “global health catastrophe” caused by fungal infections.
“The looming threat here is not zombies, but global starvation,” she said, lamenting that research into fungal infections remains underfunded, with total funding at £24million – just over of $40 million Canadian – between 2020 and 2022.
Over the same period, research on COVID-19 would have received the equivalent of more than 935 million Canadian dollars, according to The Guardian.
“If we don’t have enough to eat, malnutrition will kill us all before we catch something like COVID-19,” she concluded.