Understand tebuconazole’s effectiveness

Tebuconazole is a fungicide that is effective for a variety of landscaping and farming activities. It is especially popular for combating fungi that can harm grapes, cherries, almonds, cereals, and rapeseed or canola. Whether you are a researcher of fungi, an agricultural chemist or a farmer looking to eliminate new pests, learning more about tebuconazole can help you use the chemical compound more safely and effectively.

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What is tebuconazole?
Tebuconazole uses a systematic action that can work to prevent and eradicate fungi. This chemical compound eliminates fungi by inhibiting their ability to spread spores, which slows growth.

Tebuconazole is in the chemical class azole and is written as alpha-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]-alpha-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol or C16H22ClN3O. Its commercial names include HWG 1608, Bay HWG 1680, Folicur, Raxil and Elite. It has been used across the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Bayer Crop Sciences is a major producer of this fungicide.

Although approved for use by the U.S. and the European Union, some have criticized this chemical compound as dangerous to use on food crops. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established new regulations in 1999, and then reevaluated and ruled on tebuconazole in 2014. The newer ruling established regulations for use on oranges, and still approves the chemical for use on food products as long as it is used as directed.

In 2014, the European Food Safety Authority also examined this chemical compound. The commission used toxicology experts to examine data gathered from active tebuconazole use on crops. The report voiced “concern” for risk to consumers, wild non-target terrestrial vertebrates, wild non-target terrestrial invertebrates, aquatic life, on groundwater and long-term atmospheric transfers in assessments that have neither been finalized nor approved.

Fusarium head blight 
Fusarium head blight or head scab is a condition that affects grains such as wheat. When plants develop this disease, farmers can expect much lower yields than normal. But the bigger concern is what causes the head blight. As Purdue University explained, this blight is caused by gibberella zeaem, a fungus that also produces mycotoxins, which can be toxic to humans. The University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources pointed to tebuconazole as an effective fungicide against Fusarium head blight and mycotoxins.

“Fungicide use is recommended as part of an IPM program to manage Fusarium head blight,” the university explained. “Tebuconazole has been used in many states to suppress this disease since the 1990s. Currently, the most effective fungicides use metaconazole or a prothioconazole, or a combination of prothioconazole and tebuconazole. All of these fungicides belong to the DMI (group 3) class of fungicides.”