About this Research Topic
In the first edition of ‘Plants as alternative hosts for human and animal pathogens’ we learned that the interaction between food-borne pathogens and plant hosts was not merely incidental, transient or passive. For many of the most important food-borne pathogens, there is a clearly defined and specific molecular basis to the interaction, from the early to the later stages of establishment. Such mechanisms manifest as persistence or active growth on or within the plant. Both partners, the microbe and plant host, play active roles in this interaction, and many aspects of the interaction shares similarities to that seen with endemic plant-associated microbes. We also learnt about seemingly surprising hosts and habitats for the occurrence of human pathogens. Since then, microbiological techniques and understanding in this area has progressed. At the same time, advances have been made in single-cell biology, which promise to open up new areas in understanding functions required for plant colonisation. Another key, but under-appreciated area, is the evolution of these pathogens at the nucleotide-to-genome level, and understanding of how the plant host has influenced the changes. A particularly interesting area is the functional analysis of their virulence mechanisms. The burgeoning work on microbiomes is providing a step-change in our understanding about plant-microbe interactions as well as specific understanding of how human pathogens colonise plants, especially in the face of microbial competition. Since these pathogens pose a health risk, important aspects are their detection and surveillance, inevitably related to epidemiology and phylogeny, together with their diversity and occurrence. Finally, the mechanisms of interaction between human pathogens and plants underpin risk analysis, and therefore have relevance to food safety and the food industry, whether in the field or in the factory.
With these recent advances in understanding and technology in mind, we are delighted to open a call for research papers and reviews addressing the next level of understanding of plants as alternative hosts for human and animal pathogens. This Research Topic stands in close collaboration with the European COST Action 16110 “Control of Human Pathogenic Micro-organisms in Plant Production Systems” and aims at an holistic view on the topic. We therefore welcome work on, but not limited, to the following topics:
• The molecular basis of the interactions, for both the plant host and microbes, e.g. plant de-fence mechanisms; microbial growth and survival strategies; microbial virulence factors
• Interactions between human pathogens and the endemic plant microbial community, changes of the native microbial community resulting from the presence of human pathogens
• Novel methods for detection and surveillance, e.g. taking into account novel information on pathogen detection
• Risk assessment, e.g. examining how the changing or changed environment influences the oc-currence and invasiveness of human pathogens
• Antibiotic resistance genes (ARG), the possibility to transmit ARG to human pathogens and the emergence and occurrence of multi-resistant strains
Keywords: Human Pathogens, Food Safety, Microbiome, Antibiotic Resistance, Risk Assessment
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.