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Fungicides that Work Fast

BASF touts quick action of Xzemplar and Lixicon Intrinsic against turf diseases
By Larry Aylward




Kyle Miller, senior technical specialist for BASF's Professional Turf and Ornamentals group, explains that fluxapyroxad blocks respiratory Complex II, which ends up stopping the growth of fungal cells.
Photos by Larry Aylward.

We like things done fast. It's part of the culture in which we live.

Lawn care pros are no exception, especially when it comes to treating turf disease. But speed in this case is more important than getting served a quick lunch at the local diner. Speed in this case could be a life-or-death situation when it comes to clients' lawns - and with their decision to remain clients.

"It's important to get disease under control as quickly as possible," says Bruce Martin, Ph.D., turf professor at Clemson University. He says that if the disease is at the beginning of an epidemic and the weather [impacts it negatively], a lawn care pro has to act fast.

Martin was on hand at the BASF Innovation Summit last month at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort, where BASF introduced two new fungicides: Xzemplar and Lexicon Intrinsic. Both feature a new active ingredient, fluxapyroxad, which is part of the carboxamide family. Fluxapyroxad offers preventive and curative control. The message regarding the two fungicides: They work fast to control disease on cool- and warm-season lawns.

BASF expects the two products to be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this winter, and they will be unveiled in February at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and available for sale late spring pending state registrations and product availability.

Renee Keese, Ph.D., BASF's biology project leader for turf and ornamentals, explained that fluxapyroxad efficiently blocks respiratory Complex II (succinate dehydrogenase), which disrupts the energy supply and biosynthesis of essential building blocks. Then, the growth of fungal cells is stopped.

Fluxapyroxad is absorbed to the waxy layer and evenly transported in leaves, Keese added.

Kyle Miller, senior technical specialist for BASF's Professional Turf & Ornamentals group, noted that the company's Emerald fungicide, released in 2003, is the number one fungicide for dollar spot control on the market. So, why did BASF elect to research and release Xzemplar, which also controls dollar spot and has the same mode of action as Emerald?

Because Xzemplar works faster than Emerald in controlling dollar spot, Miller noted. He added that Emerald's lack of speed in curatively controlling the disease was a common criticism by users of the product. Emerald works just fine, Miller pointed out, but it takes several days to see the results.

"The nice thing about Xzemplar is that it has curative activity and works faster than Emerald," Miller said. "It also controls more diseases than Emerald, including brown patch. And [it] has performed as good or better than Emerald in university trials with regard to level of disease control and residual. It's the better mousetrap, if you will."

Xzemplar controls diseases on a variety of cool- and warm-season grasses. Depending on rate, it offers 14- to 28-day residual control.

"It is an excellent rotational partner," Miller said, noting it has no issues with resistance. He added that the definition of "exemplar" is: an ideal example of something, worthy of being copy or imitated.

Lexicon Intrinsic combines two AIs - fluxapyroxad and pyraclostrobin. It controls 26 diseases, including brown patch, dollar spot, summer patch and fairy ring.

Kathy Kalmowitz, Ph.D., market development technical specialist for BASF Professional Turf & Ornamentals, said that Lexicon Intrinsic's two modes of action provide "complete and sustained disease control." She noted that Lexicon Intrinsic doesn't contain a DMI, also known as SBI (sterol inhibitor active). She added that the benefits of Lexicon Intrinsic include consistent performance, long-lasting control and curative activity.

Lexicon Intrinsic is also rain-fast within two hours, and is not lost to evaporation or washed off by rainfall or irrigation. Lexicon Intrinsic is a next generation Intrinsic product delivering disease control and plant health. According to Thavy Staal, BASF's marketing manager for professional turf and ornamentals, getting "plant health," which pertains to root development and stress tolerance in this case, on the label is no easy task and requires "vigorous testing" and " replicated trials."

Before delving into the facts behind the fungicides, Staal spoke about the hurdles that must be jumped to bring a new chemistry like fluxapyroxad to market. Apart from medicines, plant protection products are the most thoroughly scrutinized substances, said Staal.

BASF begins with a prescreening of 140,000 substances to get down to one A.I. It takes eight to 10 years to do so. "About 800 requirements need to be addressed, and more than 200 studies are filed for a registration," said Staal. "BASF spends more than $200 million Euro ($270 million) in the chemistry, biology and toxicology to bring a new product to market."

Larry Aylward is editorial director of Superintendent magazine. Reach him at laylward@mrpllc.com.