Toda, Mitsuru, Beer, Karlyn D., Kuivila, Kathryn M., Chiller, Tom M., & Jackson, Brendan R.; “Trends in Agricultural Triazole Fungicide Use in the United States, 1992–2016 and Possible Implications for Antifungal-Resistant Fungi in Human Disease;” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2021, 129(5); DOI: 10.1289/ehp7484.
BACKGROUND: The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) is the leading cause of invasive mold infections, which cause severe disease and death in immunocompromised people. Use of triazole antifungal medications in recent decades has improved patient survival; however, triazole-resistant infections have become common in parts of Europe and are emerging in the United States. Triazoles are also a class of fungicides used in plant agriculture, and certain triazole-resistant A. fumigatus strains found causing disease in humans have been linked to environmental fungicide use.
OBJECTIVES: We examined U.S. temporal and geographic trends in the use of triazole fungicides using U.S. Geological Survey agricultural pesticide use estimates.
DISCUSSION: Based on our analysis, overall tonnage of triazole fungicide use nationwide was relatively constant during 1992–2005 but increased >4-fold during 2006–2016 to 2:9 million kg in 2016. During 1992–2005, triazole fungicide use occurred mostly in orchards and grapes, wheat, and other crops, but recent increases in use have occurred primarily in wheat, corn, soybeans, and other crops, particularly in Midwest and Southeast states. We conclude that, given the chemical similarities between triazole fungicides and triazole antifungal drugs used in human medicine, increased monitoring for environmental and clinical triazole resistance in A. fumigatus would improve overall understanding of these interactions, as well as help identify strategies to mitigate development and spread of resistance. FULL TEXT