High Azole Resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus Isolates from Strawberry Fields, China, 2018

Yong Chen, Fengshou Dong, Jingya Zhao, Hong Fan, Chunping Qin, Runan Li, Paul E Verweij, Yongquan Zheng, Li Han
Emerging Infectious Diseases 2020, 26 (1): 81-89
In 2018, we conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate azole resistance in environmental Aspergillus fumigatus isolates obtained from different agricultural fields in China. Using 63 soil cores, we cultured for azole-resistant A. fumigatus and characterized isolates by their cyp51A gene type, short tandem repeat genotype, and mating type. Of 206 A. fumigatus isolates, 21 (10.2%) were azole resistant. Nineteen of 21 had mutations in their cyp51A gene (5 TR34/L98H, 8 TR34/L98H/S297T/F495I, 6 TR46/Y121F/T289A). Eighteen were cultured from soil samples acquired from strawberry fields, suggesting this soil type is a potential hotspot for azole resistance selection. Twenty resistant isolates were mating type MAT1-1, suggesting asexual sporulation contributed to their evolution. Prochloraz, difenoconazole, and tebuconazole were the most frequently detected fungicides in soil samples with azole-resistant fungus. Our study results suggest that managing the fungicides used in agriculture will help contain the problem of antifungal drug resistance in clinics.

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