Read more Jersey Vegetable Crops Ag Updates @
Commercial Ag Updates
on the Rutgers Plant & Pest Advisory

Plant & Pest Advisory > Commercial Ag Updates and Farm Food Safety

Plant & Pest Advisory > Vegetable Crops

Contact Information

The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Growers guide to understanding the protectant fungicides
(FRAC codes M1 – M9)

-Andy Wyenandt

Protectant fungicides offer broad spectrum control and are used often throughout the growing season. Why don't fungi develop resistance to protectant fungicides?

Protectant (or contact) fungicides, such as copper (FRAC code M1) and sulfur (M2), the dithiocarbamates (mancozeb, FRAC code M3) and chlorothalonil (M5) belong to FRAC groups which have a low chance for fungicide resistance to develop. Protectant fungicides typically offer broad spectrum control for many different pathogens.

So, why wouldn’t fungi develop resistance to protectant fungicides? Protectant fungicides are used all the time, often in a weekly manner throughout much of the growing season. 

The answer is in their modes-of-action (MOA). Protectant fungicides have MOA’s that affect (i.e., prevent) fungal development in different manners. 
  • In inorganic compounds, sulfur (M2) prevents fungal growth (i.e., spore germination) by disrupting electron transport in the mitochondria. 
  • Coppers (M1), on the other hand, cause non-specific denaturing of proteins. 
  • Chlorothalonil (M5) inactivates amino acids, proteins and enzymes by combining with thiol (sulfur) groups. 
In all cases, a protectant fungicide’s chemistry disrupts fungal growth and development either non-specifically or in multiple manners. Because of this, there is a much lower chance for fungi to develop resistance to them.

Protectant fungicides are contact fungicides, meaning they must be present on the leaf surface prior to the arrival of the fungus and must then come into direct contact with the fungus. Protectant fungicides can be redistributed on the leaf surface with rainfall or overhead irrigation, but can also be washed off by too much of either! 

Remember, that with protectant fungicides, any new growth is unprotected until the next protectant fungicide is applied, in other words, protectant fungicides are not systemic or have translaminar activity like some of the newer chemistries. 

Protectant fungicides should be tank-mixed with fungicides with higher risks for resistance development. Protectant fungicides used in this manner will help slow (or reduce the chances for) fungicide resistance development on your farm. In any case, it’s best to always follow the label and tank mix protectant fungicides with those fungicides with a high-risk for resistance development when required to do so.

label: vegetable