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Phage biocontrol to combat Pseudomonas syringae pathogens causing disease in cherry

  • Rabiey, Mojgan;
  • Roy, Shyamali R;
  • Holtappels, Dominique; 118399;
  • Franceschetti, Linda;
  • Quilty, Billy J;
  • Creeth, Ryan;
  • Sundin, George W;
  • Wagemans, Jeroen; 61978;
  • Lavigne, Rob; 24787;
  • Jackson, Robert W;
Publication Date
May 08, 2020
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Bacterial canker is a major disease of Prunus species, such as cherry (Prunus avium). It is caused by Pseudomonas syringae pathovars, including P. syringae pv. syringae (Pss) and P. syringae pv. morsprunorum race 1 (Psm1) and race 2 (Psm2). Concerns over the environmental impact of, and the development of bacterial resistance to, traditional copper controls calls for new approaches to disease management. Bacteriophage-based biocontrol could provide a sustainable and natural alternative approach to combat bacterial pathogens. Therefore, seventy phages were isolated from soil, leaf and bark of cherry trees in six locations in the south east of England. Subsequently, their host range was assessed against strains of Pss, Psm1 and Psm2. While these phages lysed different Pss, Psm and some other P. syringae pathovar isolates, they did not infect beneficial bacteria such as Pseudomonas fluorescens. A subset of thirteen phages were further characterized by genome sequencing, revealing five distinct clades in which the phages could be clustered. No known toxins or lysogeny-associated genes could be identified. Using bioassays, selected phages could effectively reduce disease progression in vivo, both individually and in cocktails, reinforcing their potential as biocontrol agents in agriculture. / status: published

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