In order to meet increasing food demands, new sustainable practices are needed in the solution space for increasing global crop production. Significant crop losses are attributed directly to pests and pathogens. Reducing waste generated by pest and pathogen related crop losses may be considered as a more readily-attainable short-term remedy in the solution space as compared to reducing overconsumption. Copper (Cu)-based formulations have been used abundantly for the control of fungal and bacterial plant diseases. Increased accumulation of Cu in the environment may yield direct toxicity to off-target organisms. Also, resistance of some phytopathogens to Cu has also been increasingly reported. This abundant use yields various concerns with regards to sustainability, and has opened discussions by regulatory bodies to develop initiatives for reducing overall Cu application rates used in crop protection. Herein, this dissertation highlights a copper-alternative material designed for applications in crop protection. Chapter 1 describes background information of Cu-based crop protectants and elucidates areas where alternative technologies may afford improvements. In Chapter 2, the overall design and characterization of a multi-functional surface, sub-surface, and systemic therapeutic (MS3T) based on Zinc (Zn) and Quaternary Ammonium (Quat) actives. Chapter 3 reports the overall successes of the MS3T technology as an alternative to Cu-based products in the control of citrus phytopathogens. In a series of field trials MS3T treatments improved overall fruit yield and quality. Disease incidence of citrus canker and other phytopathogens affecting citrus were significantly reduced as compared to both commercially available standards and untreated controls. Temporal residue analysis for Zn suggests that the observed improvements may be attributed to the enhanced rainfastness of actives in the material and down-stream fertilization effects. Overall, this dissertation elucidates the prospect of deriving pesticides from nutritional sources as alternatives to Cu-based crop protectants.


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Graduation Date





Santra, Swadeshmukul


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program





CFE0008905; DP0026184



Release Date

December 2026

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)