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J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Dec;22(12):1613-20.

Biocontrol potential of a lytic bacteriophage PE204 against bacterial wilt of tomato.

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Department of Medical Bioscience, Dong-A University, Busan, Korea.


Bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia solanacearum is a devastating disease of many economically important crops. Since there is no promising control strategy for bacterial wilt, phage therapy could be adopted using virulent phages. We used phage PE204 as a model lytic bacteriophage to investigate its biocontrol potential for bacterial wilt on tomato plants. The phage PE204 has a short-tailed icosahedral structure and double-stranded DNA genome similar to that of the members of Podoviridae. PE204 is stable under a wide range of temperature and pH, and is also stable in the presence of the surfactant Silwet L-77. An artificial soil microcosm (ASM) to study phage stability in soil was adopted to investigate phage viability under a controlled system. Whereas phage showed less stability under elevated temperature in the ASM, the presence of host bacteria helped to maintain a stable phage population. Simultaneous treatment of phage PE204 at 10(8) PFU/ml with R. solanacearum on tomato rhizosphere completely inhibited bacterial wilt occurrence, and amendment of Silwet L-77 at 0.1% to the phage suspension did not impair the disease control activity of PE204. The biocontrol activities of phage PE204 application onto tomato rhizosphere before or after R. solanacearum inoculation were also investigated. Whereas pretreatment with the phage was not effective in the control of bacterial wilt, post-treatment of PE204 delayed bacterial wilt development. Our results suggested that appropriate application of lytic phages to the plant root system with a surfactant such as Silwet L-77 could be used to control the bacterial wilt of crops.

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