As the environmental and commercial requirements for new fungicides become more demanding, the merits of biofungi-cides over synthetic fungicides become more important than ever. Recently, a breakthrough in biofungicide research was made by semisynthetic approaches using antifungal microbial metabolite as the starting point. As seen in the examples of fenpiclonil, fludioxonil and synthetic derivatives of antibiotic strobilurins such as b-methoxyacrylate azoxystrobin and kresoxim-methyl, this approach is a promising and effective strategy for the development of new biofungicides with desired chemical and biological characteristics. These successes encourage fungicide researchers to construct versatile chemical library of microbial metabolites that can be used for development of new fungicides. Recently, a number of antifungal compounds have been discovered from diverse microbial sources including Streptomyces, rare actinomycetes, other eubacteria and fungi, which may be available for antifungal leads. The advances in the screening system directed to fungal specific targets have rendered more chances to get success in biofungicide development. A number of useful targets have been discovered from the fungal metabolism related to nucleic acid, protein, sterol, and cell-wall biosynthesis. The recent successful example of sordarin analogs show that better understanding of biochemical events in fungal cells would uncover more useful targets for the screening of antifungal leads. Combinatorial approaches in chemical and biochemical synthesis were suggested to diversify the chemical library of microbial metabolites, which can make it easier to discover the optimized antifungal compound with desired physical and biological properties. These new trends in developing novel biofungicides will be more facilitated and strengthened by innovative multidisciplinary approaches in the future.
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