Special Issue "Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Bacterial Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Elena G. Biosca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Microbiología y Ecología, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain
Interests: plant bacteriology; biotechnological applications; plant pathogenic bacteria; bacteriophages; biocontrol; phage therapy
Dr. María Belén Álvarez Ortega
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario (IMIDRA), Madrid, Spain
Interests: plant pathology; plant pathogenic bacteria; bacteriophages; biocontrol; phage therapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the main challenges that agriculture faces is that of ensuring crop production for a rapidly growing human population, which can be hampered by the social awareness for the environment and public health against the use of agrochemicals and the emergence of plant pathogens resistant to them. This requires innovative strategies that provide sustainable, ecofriendly, and economically affordable solutions against plant diseases, as well as safer and healthier food, and has renewed the interest in biotechnological control methods such as those based on the use of bacteriophages, natural predators of bacteria. Phages have a lower potential to produce bacterial resistance, since they can evolve and overcome host mutations, and can be supplied in bacteriophage cocktails. Additionally, they can be used to treat plant-related environments and can be produced by economically affordable methods.

The aim of this Special Issue is to call for recent advances in bacteriophage-based biocontrol of major bacterial plant pathogens and their plant environments. Studies focusing on the bioproduction and field application of these bacteriophages are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Elena G. Biosca
Dr. María Belén Álvarez Ortega
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • phage-therapy
  • biocontrol
  • phytopathogenic bacteria
  • bioproduction
  • field application

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Molecular Characterization and Taxonomic Assignment of Three Phage Isolates from a Collection Infecting Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae and P. syringae pv. phaseolicola from Northern Italy
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2083; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13102083 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 153
Abstract
Bacterial kiwifruit vine disease (Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae, Psa) and halo blight of bean (P. syringae pv. phaseolicola, Pph) are routinely treated with copper, leading to environmental pollution and bacterial copper resistance. An alternative sustainable control method could [...] Read more.
Bacterial kiwifruit vine disease (Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae, Psa) and halo blight of bean (P. syringae pv. phaseolicola, Pph) are routinely treated with copper, leading to environmental pollution and bacterial copper resistance. An alternative sustainable control method could be based on bacteriophages, as phage biocontrol offers high specificity and does not result in the spread of toxic residues into the environment or the food chain. In this research, specific phages suitable for phage-based biocontrol strategies effective against Psa and Pph were isolated and characterized. In total, sixteen lytic Pph phage isolates and seven lytic Psa phage isolates were isolated from soil in Piedmont and Veneto in northern Italy. Genome characterization of fifteen selected phages revealed that the isolated Pph phages were highly similar and could be considered as isolates of a novel species, whereas the isolated Psa phages grouped into four distinct clades, two of which represent putative novel species. No lysogeny-, virulence- or toxin-related genes were found in four phages, making them suitable for potential biocontrol purposes. A partial biological characterization including a host range analysis was performed on a representative subset of these isolates. This analysis was a prerequisite to assess their efficacy in greenhouse and in field trials, using different delivery strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture)
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Article
The Bacteriophage pEp_SNUABM_08 Is a Novel Singleton Siphovirus with High Host Specificity for Erwinia pyrifoliae
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1231; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071231 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Species belonging to the genus Erwinia are predominantly plant pathogens. A number of bacteriophages capable of infecting Erwinia have been used for the control of plant diseases such as fire blight. Public repositories provide the complete genome information for such phages, which includes [...] Read more.
Species belonging to the genus Erwinia are predominantly plant pathogens. A number of bacteriophages capable of infecting Erwinia have been used for the control of plant diseases such as fire blight. Public repositories provide the complete genome information for such phages, which includes genomes ranging from 30 kb to 350 kb in size. However, limited information is available regarding bacteriophages belonging to the family Siphoviridae. A novel lytic siphophage, pEp_SNUABM_08, which specifically infects Erwinia pyrifoliae, was isolated from the soil of an affected apple orchard in South Korea. A comprehensive genome analysis was performed using the Erwinia-infecting siphophage. The whole genome of pEp_SNUABM_08 comprised 62,784 bp (GC content, 57.24%) with 79 open reading frames. The genomic characteristics confirmed that pEp_SNUABM_08 is a singleton lytic bacteriophage belonging to the family Siphoviridae, and no closely related phages have been reported thus far. Our study not only characterized a unique phage, but also provides insight into the genetic diversity of Erwinia bacteriophages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture)
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Communication
Use of a Specific Phage Cocktail for Soft Rot Control on Ware Potatoes: A Case Study
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1095; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13061095 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
Using bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) to control pathogenic bacteria is a promising approach in horticulture. However, the application of this strategy in real conditions requires compliance with particular technological and environmental restraints. The presented paper concerns the process of phage selection to create a [...] Read more.
Using bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) to control pathogenic bacteria is a promising approach in horticulture. However, the application of this strategy in real conditions requires compliance with particular technological and environmental restraints. The presented paper concerns the process of phage selection to create a cocktail that is efficient against the circulating causal agents of potato soft rot. The resulting phage cocktail causes a complete lysis of a mixture of circulating pectobacterial strains in vitro. In the context of being used to treat ware potatoes during off-season storage, the protocol of phage application via the humidity maintenance system was designed. The phage cocktail was shown to reduce the population of Pectobacterium spp. 10–12-fold, achieving a population that was below a symptomatic threshold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture)
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Article
Isolation and Characterization of a Novel Jumbo Phage from Leaf Litter Compost and Its Suppressive Effect on Rice Seedling Rot Diseases
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 591; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13040591 - 31 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Jumbo phages have DNA genomes larger than 200 kbp in large virions composed of an icosahedral head, tail, and other adsorption structures, and they are known to be abundant biological substances in nature. In this study, phages in leaf litter compost were screened [...] Read more.
Jumbo phages have DNA genomes larger than 200 kbp in large virions composed of an icosahedral head, tail, and other adsorption structures, and they are known to be abundant biological substances in nature. In this study, phages in leaf litter compost were screened for their potential to suppress rice seedling rot disease caused by the bacterium Burkholderia glumae, and a novel phage was identified in a filtrate-enriched suspension of leaf litter compost. The phage particles consisted of a rigid tailed icosahedral head and contained a DNA genome of 227,105 bp. The phage could lyse five strains of B. glumae and six strains of Burkholderia plantarii. The phage was named jumbo Burkholderia phage FLC6. Proteomic tree analysis revealed that phage FLC6 belongs to the same clade as two jumbo Ralstonia phages, namely RSF1 and RSL2, which are members of the genus Chiangmaivirus (family: Myoviridae; order: Caudovirales). Interestingly, FLC6 could also lyse two strains of Ralstonia pseudosolanacearum, the causal agent of bacterial wilt, suggesting that FLC6 has a broad host range that may make it especially advantageous as a bio-control agent for several bacterial diseases in economically important crops. The novel jumbo phage FLC6 may enable leaf litter compost to suppress several bacterial diseases and may itself be useful for controlling plant diseases in crop cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture)
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Article
Characterization of CRISPR Spacer and Protospacer Sequences in Paenibacillus larvae and Its Bacteriophages
Viruses 2021, 13(3), 459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13030459 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 573
Abstract
The bacterium Paenibacillus larvae is the causative agent of American foulbrood, the most devastating bacterial disease of honeybees. Because P. larvae is antibiotic resistant, phages that infect it are currently used as alternative treatments. However, the acquisition by P. larvae of CRISPR spacer [...] Read more.
The bacterium Paenibacillus larvae is the causative agent of American foulbrood, the most devastating bacterial disease of honeybees. Because P. larvae is antibiotic resistant, phages that infect it are currently used as alternative treatments. However, the acquisition by P. larvae of CRISPR spacer sequences from the phages could be an obstacle to treatment efforts. We searched nine complete genomes of P. larvae strains and identified 714 CRISPR spacer sequences, of which 384 are unique. Of the four epidemiologically important P. larvae strains, three of these have fewer than 20 spacers, while one strain has over 150 spacers. Of the 384 unique spacers, 18 are found as protospacers in the genomes of 49 currently sequenced P. larvae phages. One P. larvae strain does not have any protospacers found in phages, while another has eight. Protospacer distribution in the phages is uneven, with two phages having up to four protospacers, while a third of phages have none. Some phages lack protospacers found in closely related phages due to point mutations, indicating a possible escape mechanism. This study serve a point of reference for future studies on the CRISPR-Cas system in P. larvae as well as for comparative studies of other phage–host systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacteriophage-Based Biocontrol in Agriculture)
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