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Reinhardsbrunn 15th International Symposium on Modern Fungicides and Antifungal Compounds, Friedrichroda, Germany May 2007
Over 100 delegates from 18 countries gathered together in the small town of Friedrichroda, Germany, to communicate their common interest in fungicides. The conference was set in the Thüringer Wald, an area of Germany known for its scenic forests and hills and also for the spicy Thüringerwurst sausage.
The opening conference session was marked by a talk from the organiser of the first Reinhardsbrunn symposia Horst Lyr. Professor Lyr discussed the history of the symposia and the development of fungicides over the last 45 years alongside the difficulties of organising the meetings in East Germany. One of the many important things pointed out by Professor Lyr was the change in key aspects of the conference, from the initial views on discovery of natural toxin fungicides then to systemic fungicides such as carboxin and metalaxyl. More recently the conference has focussed on understanding modes of fungicide action and the subjects of fungicide resistance and resistance management are becoming increasingly prevalent.
Seven of the oral presentations concentrated on the foliar wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola with input from Rothamsted, INRA, BASF and Syngenta. The main focus of these talks was alterations in the CYP51 target protein that have been correlated with resistance to some of the triazole fungicides. Perhaps the most interesting section was presented by Bart Fraaije who has used the historic Broadbalk experiment samples from Rothamsted to show molecular adaptation of M.
graminicola to fungicides over the past 150 years. Ulrich Gisi from Syngenta crop protection presented the interesting finding that several species of rust cannot develop resistance to QoI fungicides with the mechanism common among other plant pathogens. This is due to the positioning of an essential intron recognition sequence at the site where mutations would normally facilitate the development of resistance.
Rudolf Krska from the University of Natural Resources and applied Life Sciences, Vienna, presented the first of several talks on mycotoxins and gave evidence of his group’s capacity to detect up to 89 mycotoxins, including conjugated (masked) mycotoxins, with a single LC/MS/MS run. The data from this group has also demonstrated that masked deoxynivalenol is the most prevalent mycotoxin worldwide and can be cleaved enzymatically to the more toxic DON. Also surprising was the result that several samples of garlic had been found to contain high mycotoxin levels. Andreas GÃ¶rtz of The University of Bonn demonstrated that metconazole and prothioconazole reduced Fusarium ear rot in maize whereas azoxystrobin treatment actually increased disease levels from 40% to 60%, perhaps due to the removal of antagonistic organisms.
I was delighted to be able to present a paper on my work “Transporter gene expression in isolates of Mycosphaerella graminicola with reduced triazole sensitivity” after which I received several questions and interest in collaboration for future work, something that added to my overall enjoyment of the meeting. The delegates were also lucky to have an excursion to the Max Planck institute for chemical ecology in Jena where we were enlightened as to the extent of Max Planck institutes and the huge contribution they have made to all aspects of science. This was followed by a tour of the historic town of Weimar and finally a meal in the famous Hotel Elephant, a place previously frequented by Goethe, Schiller, Bach and other artists, and later by Hitler. The area has undergone a large amount of restoration since the reunification of Germany and the old town centres in both Weimar and Friedrichroda are as picturesque as any.
Finally I would like to thank BSPP for contributing to the costs of the travel and also the conference committee for organising a first-rate meeting. The 16th Reinhardsbrunn symposium is planned for 2010.
Tim Bean, Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Rothamsted Research