© 2016 Rombouts, Volckaert, Venneman, Declercq, Vandenheuvel, Allonsius, Van Malderghem, Jang, Briers, Noben, Klumpp, Van Vaerenbergh, Maes and Lavigne. Pseudomonas syringae pv. porri, the causative agent of bacterial blight in leek (Allium porrum), is increasingly frequent causing problems in leek cultivation. Because of the current lack of control measures, novel bacteriophages we re isolated to control this pathogen using phage therapy. Five novel phages were isolated from infected fields in Flanders (vB_PsyM_KIL1, vB_PsyM_KIL2, vB_PsyM_KIL3, vB_PsyM_KIL4, and vB_PsyM_KIL5), and were complemented with one selected host range mutant phage (vB_PsyM_KIL3b). Genome analysis of the phages revealed genome sizes between 90 and 94 kb and an average GC-content of 44.8%. Phylogenomic networking classified them into a novel clade, named the "KIL-like viruses," related to the Felixounalikevirus genus, together with phage phiPsa374 from P. syringae pv. actinidiae. In vitro characterization demonstrated the stability and lytic potential of these phages. Host range analysis confirmed heterogeneity within P. syringae pv. porri, leading to the development of a phage cocktail with a range that covers the entire set of 41 strains tested. Specific bio-assays demonstrated the in planta efficacy of phages vB_PsyM_KIL1, vB_PsyM_KIL2, vB_PsyM_KIL3, and vB_PsyM_KIL3b. In addition, two parallel field trial experiments on three locations using a phage cocktail of the six phages showed variable results. In one trial, symptom development was attenuated. These data suggest some potential for phage therapy in controlling bacterial blight of leek, pending optimization of formulation and application methods.
Rombouts, S., Volckaert, A., Venneman, S., Declercq, B., Vandenheuvel, D., Allonsius, C. N., … Lavigne, R. (2016). Characterization of novel bacteriophages for biocontrol of bacterial blight in leek caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. porri. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7(MAR). https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00279