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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Cross-resistance of the pathogenic fungus Alternaria alternata to fungicides with different modes of action

Yang, Li-Na; He, Meng-Han; Ouyang, Hai-Bing; Zhu, Wen; Pan, Zhe-Chao; Sui, Qi-Jun; Shang, Li-Ping; Zhan, Jiasui


Background Cross-resistance, a phenomenon that a pathogen resists to one antimicrobial compound also resists to one or several other compounds, is one of major threats to human health and sustainable food production. It usually occurs among antimicrobial compounds sharing the mode of action. In this study, we determined the sensitivity profiles of Alternaria alternata, a fungal pathogen which can cause diseases in many crops to two fungicides (mancozeb and difenoconazole) with different mode of action using a large number of isolates (234) collected from seven potato fields across China. Results We found that pathogens could also develop cross resistance to fungicides with different modes of action as indicated by a strong positive correlation between mancozeb and difenoconazole tolerances to A. alternata. We also found a positive association between mancozeb tolerance and aggressiveness of A. alternata, suggesting no fitness penalty of developing mancozeb resistance in the pathogen and hypothesize that mechanisms such as antimicrobial compound efflux and detoxification that limit intercellular accumulation of natural/synthetic chemicals in pathogens might account for the cross-resistance and the positive association between pathogen aggressiveness and mancozeb tolerance. Conclusions The detection of cross-resistance among different classes of fungicides suggests that the mode of action alone may not be an adequate sole criterion to determine what components to use in the mixture and/or rotation of fungicides in agricultural and medical sects. Similarly, the observation of a positive association between the pathogen's aggressiveness and tolerance to mancozeb suggests that intensive application of site non-specific fungicides might simultaneously lead to reduced fungicide resistance and enhanced ability to cause diseases in pathogen populations, thereby posing a greater threat to agricultural production and human health. In this case, the use of evolutionary principles in closely monitoring populations and the use of appropriate fungicide applications are important for effective use of the fungicides and durable infectious disease management.


Alternaria alternata; Mode of action; Cross resistance; Fitness penalty; Detached leaf assay; Resistance mechanism

Published in

BMC Microbiology
2019, Volume: 19, number: 1, article number: 205
Publisher: BMC

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network
    AMR: Fungus

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

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