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Mixtures as a Fungicide Resistance Management Tactic

December 2014 , Volume 104 , Number  12
Pages  1,264 - 1,273

Frank van den Bosch, Neil Paveley, Femke van den Berg, Peter Hobbelen, and Richard Oliver

First, third, and fourth authors: Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom; second author: ADAS High Mowthorpe, Dugglesby YO17 8BP, United Kingdom; and fifth author: Environment & Agriculture, Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia.

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Accepted for publication 14 August 2014.

We have reviewed the experimental and modeling evidence on the use of mixtures of fungicides of differing modes of action as a resistance management tactic. The evidence supports the following conclusions.

1. Adding a mixing partner to a fungicide that is at-risk of resistance (without lowering the dose of the at-risk fungicide) reduces the rate of selection for fungicide resistance. This holds for the use of mixing partner fungicides that have either multi-site or single-site modes of action. The resulting predicted increase in the effective life of the at-risk fungicide can be large enough to be of practical relevance. The more effective the mixing partner (due to inherent activity and/or dose), the larger the reduction in selection and the larger the increase in effective life of the at-risk fungicide.

2. Adding a mixing partner while lowering the dose of the at-risk fungicide reduces the selection for fungicide resistance, without compromising effective disease control. The very few studies existing suggest that the reduction in selection is more sensitive to lowering the dose of the at-risk fungicide than to increasing the dose of the mixing partner.

3. Although there are very few studies, the existing evidence suggests that mixing two at-risk fungicides is also a useful resistance management tactic.

The aspects that have received too little attention to draw generic conclusions about the effectiveness of fungicide mixtures as resistance management strategies are as follows: (i) the relative effect of the dose of the two mixing partners on selection for fungicide resistance, (ii) the effect of mixing on the effective life of a fungicide (the time from introduction of the fungicide mode of action to the time point where the fungicide can no longer maintain effective disease control), (iii) polygenically determined resistance, (iv) mixtures of two at-risk fungicides, (v) the emergence phase of resistance evolution and the effects of mixtures during this phase, and (vi) monocyclic diseases and nonfoliar diseases. The lack of studies on these aspects of mixture use of fungicides should be a warning against overinterpreting the findings in this review.

© 2014 The American Phytopathological Society