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Efficiency of Phage φ6 for Biocontrol of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae: An in Vitro Preliminary Study

Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
PhageLab—Laboratory of Biofilms and Bacteriophages, University of Sorocaba, 18023-000 Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(9), 286;
Received: 13 July 2019 / Revised: 31 July 2019 / Accepted: 21 August 2019 / Published: 23 August 2019
Pseudomonas syringae is a plant-associated bacterial species that has been divided into more than 60 pathovars, with the Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae being the main causative agent of diseases in a wide variety of fruit trees. The most common treatments for biocontrol of P. syringae pv. syringae infections has involved copper derivatives and/or antibiotics. However, these treatments should be avoided due to their high toxicity to the environment and promotion of bacterial resistance. Therefore, it is essential to search for new approaches for controlling P. syringae pv. syringae. Phage therapy can be a useful alternative tool to the conventional treatments to control P. syringae pv. syringae infections in plants. In the present study, the efficacy of bacteriophage (or phage) φ6 (a commercially available phage) was evaluated in the control of P. syringae pv. syringae. As the plants are exposed to the natural variability of physical and chemical parameters, the influence of pH, temperature, solar radiation and UV-B irradiation on phage φ6 viability was also evaluated in order to develop an effective phage therapy protocol. The host range analysis revealed that the phage, besides its host (P. syringae pv. syringae), also infects the Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae CRA-FRU 12.54 and P. syringae pv. actinidiae CRA-FRU 14.10 strains, not infecting strains from the other tested species. Both multiplicities of infection (MOIs) tested, 1 and 100, were effective to inactivate the bacterium, but the MOI 1 (maximum reduction of 3.9 log CFU/mL) was more effective than MOI 100 (maximum reduction of 2.6 log CFU/mL). The viability of phage φ6 was mostly affected by exposure to UV-B irradiation (decrease of 7.3 log PFU/mL after 8 h), exposure to solar radiation (maximum reduction of 2.1 PFU/mL after 6 h), and high temperatures (decrease of 8.5 PFU/mL after 6 days at 37 °C, but a decrease of only 2.0 log PFU/mL after 67 days at 15 °C and 25 °C). The host range, high bacterial control and low rates of development of phage-resistant bacterial clones (1.20 × 10−3) suggest that this phage can be used to control P. syringae pv. syringae infections in plants, but also to control infections by P. syringae pv. actinidiae, the causal agent of bacterial canker of kiwifruit. Although the stability of phage φ6 was affected by UV-B and solar radiation, this can be overcome by the application of phage suspensions at the end of the day or at night. View Full-Text
Keywords: phage treatment; phytopathogenic bacteria; resistance; physico-chemical factors phage treatment; phytopathogenic bacteria; resistance; physico-chemical factors
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Pinheiro, L.A.M.; Pereira, C.; Frazão, C.; Balcão, V.M.; Almeida, A. Efficiency of Phage φ6 for Biocontrol of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae: An in Vitro Preliminary Study. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 286.

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