Sussex fungicides may help fight ash dieback

Jan 29, 2014

A new fungicide treatment developed at the University of Sussex is emerging as a weapon in the fight to inhibit growth of Chalara fraxinea, which causes ash dieback, according to initial trials at The Sainsbury Laboratory.

If developed further, it could be used to treat infected nursery stock or ash plantations that are blighted by the disease. It is more problematic to use in native woodland, where spraying is difficult and fungicides may affect beneficial fungi that help tree nutrition and healthy growth.

AOX fungicides were created in the University of Sussex laboratory of Professor Tony Moore, and have recently been subjected to independent trials in the world-renowned Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich.

Fungal pathogens are adept at developing resistance to treatments by expressing an enzyme called the alternative oxidase (AOX). The novel compounds formulated by Professor Moore prevent this enzyme from being functional. If developed, these compounds may be effective for longer and need less frequent spraying. 

The compounds were particularly effective when combined with a traditional fungicide that targets a different enzyme in the fungus. Professor Moore and his colleagues identified the current target using data made available by The Sainsbury Laboratory on infected tree samples. The data are available for other scientists to analyse on the crowdsourcing website OpenAshDieBack

Professor Moore hopes that in the future, AOX fungicides could also be used to better protect cereal crops from pathogenic fungi. As well as protecting yields, they could lessen the environmental damage caused by multiple applications. The University of Sussex is currently working with the Sussex Innovation Centre to help bring the to market, and is seeking commercial partners to develop AOX fungicides for a range of applications. 

Explore further: No magic bullet for coffee rust eradication

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

No magic bullet for coffee rust eradication

Jan 22, 2014

Spraying fungicide to kill coffee rust disease, which has ravaged Latin American plantations since late 2012, is an approach that is "doomed to failure," according to University of Michigan ecologists.

Genome sequence for mother of ash dieback survival

Jun 17, 2013

The first sequence data for a survivor of the ash dieback epidemic has been made available by scientists from The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) as part of a research collaboration led by the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbur ...

Recommended for you

Bitter food but good medicine from cucumber genetics

6 hours ago

High-tech genomics and traditional Chinese medicine come together as researchers identify the genes responsible for the intense bitter taste of wild cucumbers. Taming this bitterness made cucumber, pumpkin ...

New button mushroom varieties need better protection

10 hours ago

A working group has recently been formed to work on a better protection of button mushroom varieties. It's activities are firstly directed to generate consensus among the spawn/breeding companies to consider ...

Cataloguing 10 million human gut microbial genes

Nov 25, 2014

Over the past several years, research on bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) has confirmed the major role they play in our health. An international consortium, in which INRA participates, has developed the most ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.