School of Health Sciences
Biology: Cell and Molecular Biology
terrorism, agroterrorism, biosecurity, agriculture, plant immunology
Agriculture | Biosecurity | Biotechnology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Plant Sciences
Forrest, Alyssa, "The Growing Threat of Agroterrorism and Strategies for Agricultural Defense" (2020). Senior Honors Theses. 979.
Due to the dynamic nature of human conflict, non-traditional terror tactics have evolved to undermine the socioeconomic stability of targeted societies. Considering the landscape in which terrorists operate, emphasis on more subversive methods of biological terror have become prominent in recent decades. Agroterrorism, or the use of plant pathogens to infect a nation’s cultivated crops, is an emerging topic due to its threat to global food security and economic stability. Although emergency preparedness objectives have been enacted at national, state, and even local levels, preemptive measures can no longer remain the sole responsibility of intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The agricultural and scientific communities are responsible for collaboration to improve security and pioneer new methods of disease resistance in susceptible crops. Plant immunology is an expanding field which explores the molecular defense mechanisms innately present within the plant kingdom and provides insight concerning novel methods of boosting the immunity of susceptible crops to existing and emerging pathogenic agents. This thesis serves to define the threat of agroterrorism from a national security and scientific perspective, identify notable plant pathogens, provide a brief survey of plant immunology, and discuss topics which can aid scientists, policymakers, and growers in efforts to secure the global food supply from those who would cause harm.