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Fungicides, an Overview

  1. Keith J. Brent

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr089

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Brent, K. J. 2003. Fungicides, an Overview. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. Bristol, England

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


This article is an introduction to the large and diverse range of chemicals that are used to control fungal diseases of plants, and which are considered in greater detail in subsequent articles.

The history of fungicide discovery and use, from ancient times up to the present, is outlined. There has been an evolutionary trend towards fungicides of higher potency with correspondingly lower application rates. This has been accompanied by achievement of greater specificity of action against target organisms, conferring a greater margin of safety to crops, human health, and environment and often permitting systemic movement within treated plants, but unfortunately bearing a greater risk of development of resistance.

Advances in genetics are likely to increase greatly the range of disease-resistant crop varieties. Biological control agents may come into use in some situations, and the use of husbandry methods that decrease disease pressures is increasing. Fungicides, however, will remain a major component of crop disease management for decades to come.

There is a vital need for continued discovery and development of new fungicides. This is not only to provide even more effective and safe products but also to delay, avoid, or overcome resistance build-up by increasing the biochemical diversity of treatment programs and by controlling resistant populations that have already arisen against existing products.

It is equally important to secure the most profitable, durable, and safe performance, through precise application of fungicides in time and space, and through using them within integrated disease management programs that combine the use of a range of chemical and nonchemical countermeasures.


  • fungicides;
  • overview;
  • agriculture;
  • history;
  • discovery;
  • development;
  • properties;
  • plant disease;
  • plant disease control