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Polymer nanoparticles as potent fungicides against Verticillium dahliae: insights from a metabolomics perspective

Maria Lykogianni: Laboratory of Pesticide Science, Agricultural University of Athens

<div>The lack of efficient plant protection products (PPPs) against devastating plant diseases is among the major challenges that the agri-food sector is facing. Taking into account the slow introduction of molecules exhibiting new mode(s)-of-action (MoA), the recent developments in nanotechnology could provide a valuable alternative towards improving crop protection. Nanoparticles could be used as novel active ingredients <em>per se</em> or nanocarriers in the nanoformulation of the next generation (nano)-PPPs. Nonetheless, there is an increasing demand for the in-depth study of their bioactivity and fate in the environment. Within this context, the application of metabolomics, could greatly assist towards understanding the bioactivity and MoA of nanoparticles. Therefore, we have undertaken the task of mining the effects of hyperbranched poly(ethyleneimine) nanoparticles on the metabolism of <em>Verticillium dahliae </em>metabolism applying metabolomics, which is a very important plant pathogen, in an effort to gain insights into their MoA. Analyses revealed a variable impact of the applied nanoparticles on <em>V. dahliae</em> metabolism, which is indicative of the operation of distinct MoA. Several biosynthetic pathways involved in fungal responses to stresses were up-regulated, clearly indicating the toxic effect of the applied nanoparticles. Results highlighted the potential of metabolomics in the study of the MoA and toxicity of polymer nanoparticles and that of the latter as new PPPs.</div>

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