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SPECIAL SESSION: Impacts of agricultural fungicides on clinical anti-fungal resistance - Panel Discussion

Fungicide resistance risk evaluation and resistance management - FRAC Position
Martin Semar - FRAC. Helge Sierotzki- FRAC, Klaus Stenzel- FRAC

Academic research in the field of the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus provided the hypothesis that the agricultural use of a particular subclass of fungicides, the triazoles, contributes to the development of triazole-resistant strains of A. fumigatus. These strains can interfere with the care of immuno-compromised patients in hospitals suffering from Aspergillus infections, since these strains are cross-resistant to triazole antifungals used in human medicine, and thereby reduce the options for an antifungal therapy. The crop protection industry takes the issue of resistance development of A. fumigatus towards triazole antifungals and the potential link to non-medical uses of triazoles seriously. As an industry, we are actively contributing to the build-up of knowledge: the results of collaborative research between the crop protection industry, independent research organizations and governmental institutions suggest that the amplification of such triazole-resistant strains of A. fumigatus is restricted to specific agronomic settings and practices (“hot spots”), including the composting of flower bulb waste containing triazole residues. In contrast, the use of triazole fungicides on broad-acre agricultural crops is unlikely to be a relevant source of triazole-resistant A. fumigatus in the wider environment. The crop protection industry will continue to work together with farmers associations, the medical profession, governments, research institutes and other industries involved to address the problem of resistance development in A. fumigatus and to translate findings into effective mitigation measures.