Managing resistance evolving concurrently against two or more modes of action, to extend the effective life of new fungicides

Project number 21120058

Lead partner ADAS

Scientific partners Rothamsted Research, NIAB, SRUC, Teagasc

Industry partners Adama, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta

Start date January 2017

End date March 2021

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funding £196,500 

Total funding £464,500

The challenge

The development of pathogen resistance to fungicide modes of action (MOA) is a threat to disease control in arable and horticultural crops. New MOA are rare and it is critical to prolong the effective life of current fungicides and those in the pipeline. Good progress has been made with understanding resistance evolution and developing practical guidance. However, specific gaps in knowledge exist: firstly, where two or more single-site acting fungicides are used in a spray programme, strains resistant to either or both modes of action are selected for concurrently but advice is based on evidence from selection of resistance against a single MOA; secondly, some aspects of resistance management have opposing effects which have proved difficult to reconcile.

The project

There is little experimental evidence on the effect of resistance management tactics on selection for insensitive strains concurrently to two modes of action. Current understanding has come from mathematical modelling. 

There is now a window of opportunity to conduct field experiments on concurrent selection with newly detected mutant strains of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici which have low, moderate or high SDHI insensitivity and which are also evolving concurrently with new azole insensitive variants. 

The aim of this project is to determine, for any given two or more MOAs with known efficacy, how best they should be deployed in fungicide treatment programmes to combine robust, cost-effective control and slow down the evolution of resistance.

The objectives are to quantify:

1. Selection for pathogen resistance evolving concurrently against two or more MOAs

2. Trade-offs between mixtures, alternation and number of treatments of the MOAs

3. Increases in the effective life of fungicides from resistance management tactics against concurrent selection of insensitive strains

The benefits

The target users and beneficiaries of the project are growers, advisers and fungicide manufacturers. The whole industry, including growers, agronomists, suppliers and manufacturers, is highly aware of resistance and the threat it poses. There is a strong push for each part of the industry to engage with and implement guidance, provided the guidance is practically and economically realistic. 

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