Rationale and perspectives on the development of fungicides

Annual Review of Phytopathology
S C KnightD Youle

Abstract

Fungicides continue to be essential for the effective control of plant diseases. New classes of fungicides with novel modes of action are being developed in the 1990s. These include the strobilurins, phenylpyrroles, anilinopyrimidines, phenoxyquinolines, and compounds that trigger defense mechanisms in the plant. For the foreseeable future, new toxophores will be identified through a process of random screening, with natural products representing a rich source of fungicide leads. Progress is being made in the development of high-throughput screens comprised of target enzyme sites or cell-based assays; these techniques will improve the probability of discovery. Following the identification of suitable leads, biorational design is used to optimize specific properties. In vivo glasshouse screens and field trials are expected to remain the dominant methods for characterizing new compounds. Low toxicity to humans and wildlife, low environmental impact, low residues in food, and compatibility with integrated pest management (IPM) programs are increasingly important considerations in the selection of fungicides for development.

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