Medicinal Compound Becomes Fungicide

March 11, 2005 - 12:44

Many fruit and ornamental growers may have found the newest thing in defense for fighting destructive fungi, due to some research from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Mississippi (UM) scientists who have been able to transform a medicinal compound into an agricultural fungicide, according to the ARS.

The naturally occurring compound, called sampangine, was first patented by UM in 1990 as a treatment for human fungal infections. It was never released pharmaceutically.

“Now, plant pathologist David Wedge of ARS’ Natural Products Utilization Research Unit and UM associate professor Dale Nagle have been issued a patent for sampangine and similar, related compounds for broad-spectrum, low-toxicity control of fungal plant pathogens that threaten agriculture,” ARS stated.

The ARS said that according to the new patent — US No. 6,844,353 — sampangine-based compounds can control such fungi as Botrytis cinerea; Colletotrichum fragariae, C. gloeosporioides and Fusarium oxysporum, which have large affects on agriculture crops.

“Sampangine can greatly help the United States' $31-billion-a-year minor crop industry. For example, in recent studies in Louisiana, Wedge and Barbara Smith of the ARS Small Fruits Research Station in Poplarville, Miss., verified that some Botrytis fungal strains now resist fungicides commonly used against these strains,” according to ARS.

“According to Wedge, sampangine shows potential for managing fungicide resistance against important diseases and augmenting use of fungicides that are vulnerable to resistance. The sampangine-based fungicides may also find use as postharvest and antidecay agents,” stated ARS.

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