Parasitic plants in the Orobanchaceae family include devastating weed species, such as Striga, Orobanche, and Phelipanche, which parasitize major crops, drastically reduces crop yields and cause economic losses of over a billion US dollars worldwide. Advances in basic research on molecular and cellular processes responsible for parasitic relationships has now achieved steady progress through advances in genome analysis, biochemical analysis and structural biology. On the basis of these advances it is now possible to develop chemicals that control parasitism and reduce agricultural damage. In this review we summarized the recent development of chemicals that can control each step of parasitism from strigolactone biosynthesis in host plants to haustorium formation.
Biological soil disinfestation (BSD) is biotechnology to control soil-borne plant pathogens based on the anaerobic-reducing environment in soil and the functions of indigenous microbes. A new sustainable agricultural technology, the GET system, which produces and recovers methane as renewable energy from paddy fields, has a structure and principles similar to those of BSD technology. To confirm the potential of the GET system as BSD technology, the microbial community structures in the GET system were analyzed using next-generation sequencing. Thirty-four phyla were detected: 31 bacterial and 3 archaeal. Firmicutes dominated during the experimental period, which plays an important role in BSD functions such as organic decomposition, nitrate removal, and soil-borne pathogen elimination. The ability of the GET system to control soil-borne pathogens as well as produce renewable energy was demonstrated.
Fifteen novel pyridine carboxamide derivatives bearing a diarylamine-modified scaffold were designed, synthesized, and their antifungal activity was evaluated. Preliminary bioassay results showed that some of the synthesized compounds exhibited moderate to good in vitro antifungal activity. Further, compound 6-chloro-N-(2-(phenylamino)phenyl)nicotinamide (3f) displayed good in vivo antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea. The enzymatic test on B. cinerea succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) showed that the inhibitory activity possessed by compound 3f equally matches that of thifluzamide. Molecular docking results demonstrated that compound 3f could commendably dock with the active site of SDH via stable hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions, suggesting the possible binding modes of the title compounds with SDH. The results above revealed that the target compounds would be the leading fungicide compound for further investigation.
The common pistachio psylla, Agonoscena pistaciae, is a serious global pest menacing pistachio orchards. Considering the dangers of using excessive chemical pesticides, it seems that using natural insecticides such as diatomaceous earth is a suitable way to lower the residual amount of highly hazardous pesticides. In this study, the effects of diatomaceous earth with different additives, including dipotassium hydrogen phosphate, polyurethane glue as a wood adhesive, and potassium silicate, were investigated in several concentrations over two years in orchard conditions. Although all treatments showed significant effects, the most effective treatments were (diatomaceous earth+dipotassium hydrogen phosphate) and (diatomaceous earth+polyurethane glue). Therefore, the use of diatomaceous earth combined with the additive materials mentioned can potentially be a safe method for the integrated management of the common pistachio psylla.
The uptake experiments with pesticides were performed to clarify differences among plant species, and the influence of growth stages and conditions on the uptake and translocation ability of pesticides. There were 2–10-fold differences among plant species in the root and shoot concentrations of each pesticide, and shoot concentrations of pesticides in Brassica rapa L. var. perviridis were relatively high. In addition, the changes in shoot concentrations with growth stage of B. rapa were affected by root system development. The influence of temperature on uptake and translocation ability differed for each pesticide, while uptake and translocation ability were high for short day lengths. This indicated that plant uptake and translocation of pesticides were affected by root system development and growth conditions such as temperature and day length, not only the relationships to the chemical’s properties and behavior of organic chemicals in the soil.
Fenquinotrione is a novel rice herbicide that was discovered and developed by Kumiai Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. It can control a wide range of broadleaf and sedge weeds with excellent rice selectivity at 30 g a.i./10 a and is as effective as the wild type on acetolactate synthase inhibitor-resistant weeds. Our metabolic and molecular biological studies showed that CYP81A6-mediated demethylation and subsequent glucose conjugation are responsible for the safety of fenquinotrione in rice. Fenquinotrione was registered in Japan in 2018, and various products containing fenquinotrione have been launched. With its high efficacy and excellent rice selectivity, we believe that fenquinotrione will contribute to efficient food production in the future.
The extrapolability of the lysimeter test as a dissipation simulator in an actual paddy field was evaluated using mathematical models and their inverse analyses for predicting pesticide fate and transport processes in paddy test systems. As a source of experimental data, a four-year comparative experiment in lysimeters and paddy fields was conducted using various paddy pesticides. First, the dissipations for various active ingredients in granule pesticides under submerged applications were statistically compared using simple kinetic modeling. Second, the dissipation pathways, unobserved experimental components, and effect of the experimental setting were evaluated using a higher tier mathematical model with a novel inverse analysis protocol. Finally, owing to experimental constraints, the unobtainable parameters were extracted from the laboratory container test before being transferred to compare the outdoor experimental data under different formulation types.