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Cuprous oxide is a univalent copper oxide that has been used as a pigment, antifouling agent, and fungicide for decades. It has a diamagnetic structure with two oxygen atoms and a single copper atom bound to each. It degrades to copper oxide when in moist air, but still remains active and is used as a fungicide.
Copper fungicides are generally effective for controlling a variety of fungal and bacterial diseases. The efficacy of copper fungicides is determined by many factors including product formulation, type of copper and pH of the spray solution.
Some copper fungicides are toxic to plants (Bluestone and some other products). Other forms of copper used in fungicides, such as copper hydroxide, copper oxide, and copper oxychloride, are formulated to produce low doses of copper ions so that the copper is not harmful to plants.
There is some evidence that copper fungicides control Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola, a pathogen of halo blight in snap beans. It has been shown that the fungicides maneb and mancozeb produce a chemical reaction that increases the concentration of copper ions, but it is not known if the pathogens adapt to this increase in concentration or not.
Several studies have also shown that copper fungicides can improve control of bacterial spot of tomato and other bacterial diseases where the pathogen has developed resistance to copper (Teviotdale et al 2002, Lee et al 1993, Zhang et al 2017). The bactericides may be combined with other fungicides such as azoxystrobin or ivermectin in a mixture that produces a copper carbamate.