Can Pathogens Be Taken Up by Roots?

Can Pathogens Be Taken Up by Roots?

July 25, 2014

Research at UC Davis is looking at whether or not human pathogens, such as E-coli or Samonella could be transferred to roots and eventually into our produce.

“This is still a controversial topic, but it has to do whether the roots of the plants can uptake human pathogens if you have contaminated irrigation water. In a study done in California in our field production conditions their conclusion is that is highly unlikely to occur,” said Marita Cantwell, CE Vegetable and Postharvest Specialist at UC Davis.

Cantwell explained that the debate on the potential transmission of human pathogens  is due to the many different conditions under which produce could be grown.

“The details matter. Earlier research was in protected greenhouses and more artificial conditions, so this was a very good test in real field conditions, and this is why it’s an important study,” said Cantwell.