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      Antifungal Agents in Agriculture: Friends and Foes of Public Health

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          Abstract

          Fungal diseases have been underestimated worldwide but constitute a substantial threat to several plant and animal species as well as to public health. The increase in the global population has entailed an increase in the demand for agriculture in recent decades. Accordingly, there has been worldwide pressure to find means to improve the quality and productivity of agricultural crops. Antifungal agents have been widely used as an alternative for managing fungal diseases affecting several crops. However, the unregulated use of antifungals can jeopardize public health. Application of fungicides in agriculture should be under strict regulation to ensure the toxicological safety of commercialized foods. This review discusses the use of antifungals in agriculture worldwide, the need to develop new antifungals, and improvement of regulations regarding antifungal use.

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          Most cited references135

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          Aspergillus fumigatus and aspergillosis.

          Aspergillus fumigatus is one of the most ubiquitous of the airborne saprophytic fungi. Humans and animals constantly inhale numerous conidia of this fungus. The conidia are normally eliminated in the immunocompetent host by innate immune mechanisms, and aspergilloma and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, uncommon clinical syndromes, are the only infections observed in such hosts. Thus, A. fumigatus was considered for years to be a weak pathogen. With increases in the number of immunosuppressed patients, however, there has been a dramatic increase in severe and usually fatal invasive aspergillosis, now the most common mold infection worldwide. In this review, the focus is on the biology of A. fumigatus and the diseases it causes. Included are discussions of (i) genomic and molecular characterization of the organism, (ii) clinical and laboratory methods available for the diagnosis of aspergillosis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, (iii) identification of host and fungal factors that play a role in the establishment of the fungus in vivo, and (iv) problems associated with antifungal therapy.
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            Botrytis cinerea: the cause of grey mould disease.

            Botrytis cinerea (teleomorph: Botryotinia fuckeliana) is an airborne plant pathogen with a necrotrophic lifestyle attacking over 200 crop hosts worldwide. Although there are fungicides for its control, many classes of fungicides have failed due to its genetic plasticity. It has become an important model for molecular study of necrotrophic fungi. Kingdom: Fungi, phylum: Ascomycota, subphylum: Pezizomycotina, class: Leotiomycetes, order: Helotiales, family: Sclerotiniaceae, genus: Botryotinia. Over 200 mainly dicotyledonous plant species, including important protein, oil, fibre and horticultural crops, are affected in temperate and subtropical regions. It can cause soft rotting of all aerial plant parts, and rotting of vegetables, fruits and flowers post-harvest to produce prolific grey conidiophores and (macro)conidia typical of the disease. B. cinerea produces a range of cell-wall-degrading enzymes, toxins and other low-molecular-weight compounds such as oxalic acid. New evidence suggests that the pathogen triggers the host to induce programmed cell death as an attack strategy. Resistance: There are few examples of robust genetic host resistance, but recent work has identified quantitative trait loci in tomato that offer new approaches for stable polygenic resistance in future. http://www.phi-base.org/query.php, http://www.broad.mit.edu/annotation/genome/botrytis_cinerea/Home.html, http://urgi.versailles.inra.fr/projects/Botrytis/, http://cogeme.ex.ac.uk.
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              Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators

              Pesticides are widely used in agricultural production to prevent or control pests, diseases, weeds, and other plant pathogens in an effort to reduce or eliminate yield losses and maintain high product quality. Although pesticides are developed through very strict regulation processes to function with reasonable certainty and minimal impact on human health and the environment, serious concerns have been raised about health risks resulting from occupational exposure and from residues in food and drinking water. Occupational exposure to pesticides often occurs in the case of agricultural workers in open fields and greenhouses, workers in the pesticide industry, and exterminators of house pests. Exposure of the general population to pesticides occurs primarily through eating food and drinking water contaminated with pesticide residues, whereas substantial exposure can also occur in or around the home. Regarding the adverse effects on the environment (water, soil and air contamination from leaching, runoff, and spray drift, as well as the detrimental effects on wildlife, fish, plants, and other non-target organisms), many of these effects depend on the toxicity of the pesticide, the measures taken during its application, the dosage applied, the adsorption on soil colloids, the weather conditions prevailing after application, and how long the pesticide persists in the environment. Therefore, the risk assessment of the impact of pesticides either on human health or on the environment is not an easy and particularly accurate process because of differences in the periods and levels of exposure, the types of pesticides used (regarding toxicity and persistence), and the environmental characteristics of the areas where pesticides are usually applied. Also, the number of the criteria used and the method of their implementation to assess the adverse effects of pesticides on human health could affect risk assessment and would possibly affect the characterization of the already approved pesticides and the approval of the new compounds in the near future. Thus, new tools or techniques with greater reliability than those already existing are needed to predict the potential hazards of pesticides and thus contribute to reduction of the adverse effects on human health and the environment. On the other hand, the implementation of alternative cropping systems that are less dependent on pesticides, the development of new pesticides with novel modes of action and improved safety profiles, and the improvement of the already used pesticide formulations towards safer formulations (e.g., microcapsule suspensions) could reduce the adverse effects of farming and particularly the toxic effects of pesticides. In addition, the use of appropriate and well-maintained spraying equipment along with taking all precautions that are required in all stages of pesticide handling could minimize human exposure to pesticides and their potential adverse effects on the environment.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                MDPI
                2218-273X
                23 September 2019
                October 2019
                : 9
                : 10
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP 14049-900, Brazil; veronica.sbrauer@ 123456usp.br (V.S.B.); ca.rezende8@ 123456gmail.com (C.P.R.); andrepessoni1@ 123456gmail.com (A.M.P.)
                [2 ]Department of Physiological Sciences, Health Sciences Centre, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Vitoria, ES 29047-105, Brazil; renato.gracciano@ 123456gmail.com
                [3 ]Department of Studies in Chemistry, University of Mysore, Manasagangotri, Mysore 570006, India; rangappaks@ 123456gmail.com
                [4 ]Department of Studies in Biotechnology, University of Mysore, Manasagangotri, Mysore 570006, India; moonnayak@ 123456gmail.com
                [5 ]Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, ERA Chair of Green Chemistry, Tallinn University of Technology, 12618 Tallinn, Estonia
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: vijaifzd@ 123456gmail.com (V.K.G.); fbralmeida@ 123456usp.br (F.A.)
                Article
                biomolecules-09-00521
                10.3390/biom9100521
                6843326
                31547546
                0b9ca502-df77-4967-b392-6f8b6fadf20e
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Review

                antifungal agents,fungicides,agriculture,chemoinformatics

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