Powdery mildew fungi (Erysiphales) are among the most common and important plant fungal pathogens. These fungi are obligate biotrophic parasites that attack nearly 10,000 species of angiosperms, including major crops, such as cereals and grapes. Although cultural and biological practices may reduce the risk of infection by powdery mildew, they do not provide sufficient protection. Therefore, in practice, chemical control, including the use of fungicides from multiple chemical groups, is the most effective tool for managing powdery mildew. Unfortunately, the risk of resistance development is high because typical spray programs include multiple applications per season. In addition, some of the most economically destructive species of powdery mildew fungi are considered to be high-risk pathogens and are able to develop resistance to several chemical classes within a few years. This situation has decreased the efficacy of the major fungicide classes, such as sterol demethylation inhibitors, quinone outside inhibitors and succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors, that are employed against powdery mildews. In this review, we present cases of reduction in sensitivity, development of resistance and failure of control by fungicides that have been or are being used to manage powdery mildew. In addition, the molecular mechanisms underlying resistance to fungicides are also outlined. Finally, a number of recommendations are provided to decrease the probability of resistance development when fungicides are employed.
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