DuPont Enters Strobilurin Race

After a chemical manufacturer discovers a new crop protection chemical family, the normal response within the industry is to focus research on better versions of the same chemistry. This typically results in several new brands being launched, each claiming to be slightly better than the last. This seems to be the case with DuPont’s new cereal fungicide, Acapela, a broad-spectrum fungicide which is effective against most common cereal diseases including rust, powdery mildew, septoria leaf blotch, and tan spot.

Acapela is the newest member of the popular strobilurin group of fungicides (Group 11). Other brands in this family include Quadris, Sovran, Headline, Cabrio, and Flint. While all these products are closely related, there are some differences in the way they work. Acapela’s key benefit seems to be its claim of superior movement inside the plant tissue.

Like all members of the strobilurin family, Acapela quickly binds to the waxy leaf surface after application, moves through the leaf surface into the underlying leaf tissue, and even protects the leaf undersurface. In the industry, this is called ‘translaminar movement’. Acapela has the additional ability to move systemically through the plant’s internal ‘plumbing system’ to flow throughout the leaves. The significance of these two modes of movement within the plant help to compensate for less-than-perfect spray coverage and will also move chemical into new tissue as the leaf grows. Growers should be aware though that this distribution of chemical within the plant does not occur instantaneously, and in fact it could take a few days before full disease protection is achieved.

While strobilurin fungicides are generally considered to be preventative products and are less effective in curing disease after infection has occurred, there is some indication that Acapela has better curative activity than other Group 11 fungicides. But growers would still be wise to use Acapela in a preventative program to get its maximum benefit both in terms of disease control and in helping maximize crop yields.

Is Acapela better than other strobilurin products available today? Of course, every company claims theirs is the best and that debate will continue. We’ll need to see how Acapela performs under real field conditions for a couple seasons before we declare it the winner. But it is certainly a contender.

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