Identification of bacteriophages for biocontrol of the kiwifruit canker phytopathogen <i>Pseudomonas syringae</i> pv. <i>actinidiae</i>

TitleIdentification of bacteriophages for biocontrol of the kiwifruit canker phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFrampton, R. A., Taylor C., Holguín Moreno A. V., Visnovsky S. B., Petty N. K., Pitman A. R., & Fineran P. C.
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Date PublishedApril 1, 2014

Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae is a reemerging pathogen which causes bacterial canker of kiwifruit (Actinidia sp.). Since 2008, a global outbreak of P. syringae pv. actinidiae has occurred, and in 2010 this pathogen was detected in New Zealand. The economic impact and the development of resistance in P. syringae pv. actinidiae and other pathovars against antibiotics and copper sprays have led to a search for alternative management strategies. We isolated 275 phages, 258 of which were active against P. syringae pv. actinidiae. Extensive host range testing on P. syringae pv. actinidiae, other pseudomonads, and bacteria isolated from kiwifruit orchards showed that most phages have a narrow host range. Twenty-four were analyzed by electron microscopy, pulse-field gel electrophoresis, and restriction digestion. Their suitability for biocontrol was tested by assessing stability and the absence of lysogeny and transduction. A detailed host range was performed, phage-resistant bacteria were isolated, and resistance to other phages was examined. The phages belonged to the Caudovirales and were analyzed based on morphology and genome size, which showed them to be representatives of Myoviridae, Podoviridae, and Siphoviridae. Twenty-one Myoviridae members have similar morphologies and genome sizes yet differ in restriction patterns, host range, and resistance, indicating a closely related group. Nine of these Myoviridae members were sequenced, and each was unique. The most closely related sequenced phages were a group infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa and characterized by phages JG004 and PAK_P1. In summary, this study reports the isolation and characterization of P. syringae pv. actinidiae phages and provides a framework for the intelligent formulation of phage biocontrol agents against kiwifruit bacterial canker.