Azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus

Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus to DMI fungicides

Demethylation inhibitors (DMI) are a very important class of fungicides in multiple segments including agriculture, medicine, animal husbandry & material preservation. In farming, DMI fungicides (triazoles & imidazoles) are the backbone of many disease management programs to protect crops against fungal infections that cause serious yield reductions, thus supporting food security. They are particularly important in the protection of cereals, fruits, vegetables, and other crops against fungal diseases.

Scientific and public reports have shown reduced efficacy of medical DMI antifungals used to treat patients infected with Aspergillus fumigatus due to the presence of azole-resistant isolates (ARAf). The Crop Protection industry takes the research about the potential for some specific agricultural settings to select and amplify ARAf very seriously. A science-based, multi-stakeholder, One Health approach is necessary to address this issue, by assessing the settings where selection appears possible and defining effective mitigation measures where needed.

CropLife International actively contributes to understanding the relevance and scope of this issue. An example is CropLife International’s support of a four-year research project performed by an internationally recognized research institution (Rothamsted Research / UK) under the supervision of an independent scientific advisory board comprised of experts from both medical and agricultural fungicide research.

CropLife International has formed a project team on Antifungal Resistance amongst its member companies to coordinate and follow up on further related activities and work together with different stakeholders.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional background information here:

1 Lise Nistrup Jørgensen and Thies Marten Heick, Azole Use in Agriculture, Horticulture, and Wood Preservation – Is It Indispensable? | Cellular and Infection Microbiology (frontiersin.org) https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2021.730297/full    

2 Kevin J. Doughty, Helge Sierotzki, Martin Semar and Andreas Goertz, Selection and Amplification of Fungicide Resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus in Relation to DMI Fungicide Use in Agronomic Settings: Hotspots versus Coldspots, Microorganisms, https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/9/12/2439  

3 Schoustra, S.E., Zhang, J, Zwaan, B.j., Debets, A.J.F., Verweij, P., Buijtenhuijs, D., and Rietveld, A.G., New insights in the development of azole-resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus. RIVM Letter report 2018-0131, 2019 https://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/2018-0131.pdf

4 Gisi, Ulrich, Assessment of selection and resistance risk for demethylation inhibitor fungicides in Aspergillus fumigatus in agriculture and medicine: a critical review, Pest Management Science, Volume 70, Issue 3, March 2014, 352–364 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ps.3664

5 Fraaije, B., Atkins, S., Hanley, S., Macdonald, A., Lucas, J. (2020). Frontiers | The Multi-Fungicide Resistance Status of Aspergillus fumigatus Populations in Arable Soils and the Wider European Environment | Microbiology (frontiersin.org) Front Microbiol. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.599233/full 

6 Verweij, P.E. et al., 2020, ‘The one health problem of azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus: current insights and future research agenda,’ Fungal Biology Reviews, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1749461320300415