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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Approaches to Eliminate Fungal Contamination and Mycotoxin Production in Plant Products

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention

Title: Chemosensitization as a means to augment commercial antifungal agents

Authors
item Campbell, Bruce
item CHAN, KATHLEEN
item KIM, JONG HEON

Submitted to: Frontiers in Microbiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2012
Publication Date: February 29, 2012
Citation: Campbell, B.C., Chan, K.L., Kim, J.H. 2012. Chemosensitization as a means to augment commercial antifungal agents. Frontiers in Microbiology. 3:79.

Interpretive Summary: Fungal diseases are a major problem of both agriculture, where fungi destroy crops, or human medicine, where invasive fungal infections can often lead to death. Controlling fungal diseases in both cases requires the use of chemicals that are expensive and often toxic to the environment or, in the case of medicine, to the patient. Compounding this problem is that fungal pathogens constantly develop resistance to commercial antifungal agents. There is a potential new strategy to improve effectiveness of fungicides and to overcome resistance. This strategy involves the use of natural, safe chemicals that weaken the fungus so that it cannot respond to commercial fungicidal agents very well. There is a fair amount of research beginning to develop this strategy of “chemosensitization.” However, in many cases the scientists working in this field are unaware of each other’s efforts. This paper is a review of all the research, to date, on antifungal chemosensitization. It is to serve the purpose of bringing together the researchers in the field so that they are not only aware of each other, but also brought up to date on all the scientific progress that has been and is being made in the field.

Technical Abstract: There is growing list of papers on antimycotic chemosensitization and the mechanisms by which they function. Currently, antifungal agents used in agriculture and in human or veterinary medicine are confronted by a number of obstacles, the main one being continual development of resistance to one, or cross-resistance to many, antifungal agents. In addition there is the high expense and negative impact associated with use of antifungal agents. Collectively, these problems are exacerbated by efforts to control resistant strains, which may result in a treadmill of higher dosages for longer periods. This cycle in turn, inflates cost of treatment, dramatically. A further problem is stagnation in development of new, safe and effective antifungal agents, especially for human chemotherapy. Use of natural compounds to increase effectiveness of commercial antimycotics (viz., chemosensitization), is a somewhat new approach to dealing with the aforementioned problems. Use of such natural chemosensitizing agents has potential benefit to both agriculture and medicine, as by definition they are “safe.” When co-applied with a commercial antimycotics, an additive or synergistic interaction may occur, safely augmenting antifungal efficacy. This, in turn, lowers effective dosages, costs, negative side effects and, in some cases, countermands resistance. This is the first review of the available literature on chemosensitization and its modes of action.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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