Potentiated inhibition of Trichoderma virens and other environmental fungi by new biocide combinations
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2021 Mar 18. doi: 10.1007/s00253-021-11211-3. Online ahead of print.
Fungi cause diverse, serious socio-economic problems, including biodeterioration of valuable products and materials that spawns a biocides industry worth ~$11 billion globally. To help combat environmental fungi that commonly colonise material products, this study tested the hypothesis that combination of an approved fungicide with diverse agents approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) could reveal potent combinatorial activities with promise for fungicidal applications. The strategy to use approved compounds lowers potential development risks for any effective combinations. A high-throughput assay of 1280 FDA-approved compounds was conducted to find those that potentiate the effect of iodopropynyl-butyl-carbamate (IPBC) on the growth of Trichoderma virens; IPBC is one of the two most widely used Biocidal Products Regulations-approved fungicides. From this library, 34 compounds in combination with IPBC strongly inhibited fungal growth. Low-cost compounds that gave the most effective growth inhibition were tested against other environmental fungi that are standard biomarkers for resistance of synthetic materials to fungal colonisation. Trifluoperazine (TFZ) in combination with IPBC enhanced growth inhibition of three of the five test fungi. The antifungal hexetidine (HEX) potentiated IPBC action against two of the test organisms. Testable hypotheses on the mechanisms of these combinatorial actions are discussed. Neither IPBC + TFZ nor IPBC + HEX exhibited a combinatorial effect against mammalian cells. These combinations retained strong fungal growth inhibition properties after incorporation to a polymer matrix (alginate) with potential for fungicide delivery. The study reveals the potential of such approved compounds for novel combinatorial applications in the control of fungal environmental opportunists. KEY POINTS: • Search with an approved fungicide to find new fungicidal synergies in drug libraries. • New combinations inhibit growth of key environmental fungi on different matrices. • The approach enables a more rapid response to demand for new biocides.