Several high-value crops produced in the tropics, such as bananas, coffee, cacao, spices, mangos, and several nuts, are currently affected by fungal infections and these crops are not produced colder climates Drenth and Guest, Therefore dependence of crop produced in tropical regions aggravated with a lack of biodefense and preparedness might result in disastrous economical consequences worldwide.
Fungal infections of invertebrate hosts may also impact agricultural crises due to ecological imbalance. For instance, bee broods are susceptible to fungal infections caused by genera of Ascosphaera and Aspergillus Jensen et al. Fungal infection of bees may precipitate a disaster Bromenshenk et al. When fungi cause animal disease the outcomes are quite dramatic and scientists have been trying to raise attention to the effects of fungal infections in decreasing biodiversity, an effect aggravated if not triggered by global warming Fisher et al.
Bat decimation caused by Geomyces destructans and several frog species by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis are well known events. In invertebrates we already mentioned the case of bees, and further species may be affected but further research is needed. For example, there is a debate regarding if a marine Aspergillus spp. Overall, the examples of species decimation in mammals, plants, and bees by fungal pathogens should prompt investigation of similar phenomenon in a wider scale, for example, other insects and in aquatic life.
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- Plant Disease: Pathogens and Cycles.
It is important to highlight that most of the plant-fungal interactions are beneficial to both plants and fungi, with this symbiotic interaction improving plant growth, development, foraging, acquisition of soil resources, and tolerance to stress Zeilinger et al. For instance, Trichoderma induces biofertilization of crops. Trichoderma spp. Zeilinger and Omann, Thus, mycoparasitism-based strategies could decrease the use of agrochemicals and antifungals in crop cultivation.
In this sense, a better understanding of the fungal diversity and its impact on plant-fungal interactions would be highly beneficial to improve phytopathogen control. The reduced number of antifungals impact human health not only due to lack of therapy to cure human patients.
Medically approved antifungal drugs have been used for agricultural purposes for decades Azevedo et al. Most human pathogens have environmental niches, implying that the agricultural use of medically-approved drugs imposes the concrete risk of fostering drug resistance Verweij et al. Emergence of antifungal resistance can endanger the already limited treatments options, with calamitous effects for treatment outcomes Perlin et al.
The development of new antifungal drugs is urgent to improve both human health and agricultural production.
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The worsening of global warming opens a Pandora box for fungal diseases. Some thermally intolerant fungi with current pathogenic potential should acquire the ability to survive at mammalian temperatures Garcia-Solache and Casadevall, This threat is heightened since some fungi can take advantage of a natural selection-adaptation strategy, and consequently to adapt to higher temperature by thermal selection de Crecy et al. The collaboration between all these affected disciplines would be critical in facilitating at detecting epidemics early on and preventing further spread.
The concept of One Health King et al. We have included a table summarizing basic information regarding distribution and etiological agent of important human mycoses Table 1. The negative impact of any infectious disease is usually higher in neglected populations.
Lack of access to healthcare, underfunded healthcare, and delayed diagnosis lead to higher burden of fungal diseases. The economy of countries in developing countries strongly relies on agricultural production. Another fungal blight, if not managed properly, can still have disastrous economical and societal consequences.
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This call has been made by most, if not all, prominent fungal researchers Molloy et al. We urge more attention to fungal biology and pathogenesis globally with special attention to diseases affecting developing countries, as a safeguard for prevention of losses in agriculture, environmental losses, and damage to human health. All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Agarwal, A. Role of heme in the antifungal activity of the azaoxoaporphine alkaloid sampangine. Cell 7, — Aizen, M.
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24.4A: Fungi as Plant, Animal, and Human Pathogens
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