Selection and Amplification of Fungicide Resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus in Relation to DMI Fungicide Use in Agronomic Settings: Hotspots versus Coldspots
Microorganisms. 2021 Nov 26;9(12):2439. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9122439.
Aspergillus fumigatus is a ubiquitous saprophytic fungus. Inhalation of A. fumigatus spores can lead to Invasive Aspergillosis (IA) in people with weakened immune systems. The use of triazole antifungals with the demethylation inhibitor (DMI) mode of action to treat IA is being hampered by the spread of DMI-resistant “ARAf” (azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus) genotypes. DMIs are also used in the environment, for example, as fungicides to protect yield and quality in agronomic settings, which may lead to exposure of A. fumigatus to DMI residues. An agronomic setting can be a “hotspot” for ARAf if it provides a suitable substrate and favourable conditions for the growth of A. fumigatus in the presence of DMI fungicides at concentrations capable of selecting ARAf genotypes at the expense of the susceptible wild-type, followed by the release of predominantly resistant spores. Agronomic settings that do not provide these conditions are considered “coldspots”. Identifying and mitigating hotspots will be key to securing the agronomic use of DMIs without compromising their use in medicine. We provide a review of studies of the prevalence of ARAf in various agronomic settings and discuss the mitigation options for confirmed hotspots, particularly those relating to the management of crop waste.