sustainability through science & innovation

Riders of the storm of resistance: The 2018 Crop Protection forum program is now live

26 Oct 2018

This year the upcoming 2018 Crop Protection Forum is being run by the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) in partnership with the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) and cesar.

cesar researchers are pleased to be presenting at this forum on the following topics:

Session 1. Forewarned is forearmed: Predicting insecticide resistance and risk by Dr James Maino

Session 2. Redlegged earth mite resistance in the southern region by Dr Paul Umina

Session 3. Mean green machine: Green peach aphid resistance and management in canola by Dr Jessica Lye

The forum will be held in Glenelg, South Australia on Thursday 6 December and the theme will be Riders of the storm of resistance, which is a fitting metaphor given the history of resistance and increasing cases of resistance worldwide.

Pesticide resistance can manifest across a spectrum of organisms, from superbacteria able to survive our strongest antibiotics (think Golden Staph), to fungal pathogens, such as Aschochyta, that have developed the ability to withstand certain fungicides. These are completely different organisms that have a few things in common – DNA (which, as with all living things, will naturally accumulate mutations), fast generation cycles, and a selection pressure (pesticides).

In the case of insecticides, resistance has been documented as far back as 1914, as reported by Axel Melander in a research article entitled ‘Can insects become resistant to sprays?’ In this paper the author describes the increasing difficulty of controlling the apple orchard pest, San Jose scale, with sulphur-lime – an inorganic insecticide, which along with lead, arsenic and cyanide, was a common form of control option on the market at that time. 

Since that first documented case multiple mechanisms of resistance have been identified in pest species. These include behavioural resistance and physiological resistance mechanisms, such as target site insensitivity, metabolic detoxification, increased excretion, sequestration, and reduced cuticular penetration.

By the mid 1940’s eleven cases of resistance to inorganic pesticides had been documented, and with the introduction of the first organic insecticide to the market in 1942 (DDT) it wasn’t long before housefly resistance was documented in 1947. Since that time, resistance to organic synthetic insecticides have been reported at an increasing rate for each mode of action introduced to the market.

This is known as the pesticide treadmill, and due to the nature of genes and mutation, selection of beneficial traits, and often short insect generation times, this trend is likely to continue in the absence of significant practice change. 

To combat methicillin-resistant Staphylcoccus aureus hospitals are now considering all tools at their disposal to control the bacterium, such as the installation of copper plated benchtops (recently a chain of supermarkets in Brazil put a copper coating on its shopping trolleys as a public health measure). In short, they are using an Integrated Pest Management approach, much like many agriculturalists do.  

If you are interested in learning more about resistance and ways to combat it, have a look at the Crop Protection forum program found here. More information about the forum, including details about how to book can be found on this eventbrite page.