23 August 2021

The emerging threat of human-use antifungals in sustainable and circular agricultural systems

JB Sallach, TJ Thirkell, KJ Field, LJ Carter - Plants, People, Planet, 2021


Rapidly growing global populations mandate greater crop productivity despite increasingly scarce natural resources, including freshwater. The adoption of sustainable agricultural practices seek to address such issues, but an unintended consequence is the exposure of agricultural soils and associated biota to emerging contaminants including azole pharmaceutical antifungals. We show that environmentally relevant exposure to three commonly prescribed azole antifungals can reduce mycorrhizal 33P transfer from the soil into the host plant. This suggests that exposure to azoles may have a significant impact on mycorrhizal-mediated transfer of nutrients in soil-plant systems. Understanding the unintended consequences of sustainable agricultural practices is needed to ensure the security and safety of future food production systems.

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