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Development of Phage Therapy in Agriculture

As resistance spreads in bacterial populations, phage therapy becomes much essential in agricultural production as a bacterial pathogen control agent. To facilitate the wider use of phage therapy in agriculture and the advancement of related research, Creative Biolabs currently provides our clients around the world with comprehensive and reliable phage therapy in agricultural field development services.

Introduction of Phage Therapy in Agriculture

Bacteriophages are viruses with narrow specificity that infect bacteria and are critical for the inhibition of bacterial community and biofilm formation. After the lytic phage invades the recipient bacteria, it inserts its genome into the cell, assembles into progeny phage particles after expression, and lyses the host. The genome of lysogenic bacteriophages integrates directly into the chromosome of the host bacteria and undergoes a lysogenic reaction. With the emergence and spread of drug-resistant bacteria, bacteriophages have been developed as antimicrobial agents in agricultural production systems that can detect and eliminate target pathogens without undue impact on the environmental microbiome. A range of species-specific phage therapies has been extensively studied.

Pectobacterium atrosepticum

Dickeya solani and Pectobacterium spp. are pathogens associated with potato tuber soft rot in storage and blackleg disease in the field. Black rot can cause stunted growth of potatoes and other major economic crops, yellow leaves, or large-scale yield reduction. Podoviridae phages: φMA2, φMA5, φMA1A, φMA6, Myoviridae phages: φMA7 and φMA1 or phages φPD10.3, φPD23.1, φA38 and φA41 have all exhibited protective effects on contaminated potato tubers or control of colony numbers in experimental assays.

Transmission electron micrographs of six negatively stained bacteriophages.Fig. 1 Transmission electron micrographs of six negatively stained bacteriophages. (Zaczek, 2020)

Ralstonia solanacearum

Ralstonia solanacearum is an aerobic gram-negative plant pathogen, which can infect a series of commercial crops including potato, tomato, soybean, eggplant, tobacco, etc., and cause bacterial wilt or Granville wilt. Studies have shown that phage PE204 can completely inhibit bacterial wilt disease caused by R. solanacearum in the root system of tomatoes. Phage cocktails isolated from river water are also potent R. solanacearum inhibitor candidates.

Pseudomonas syringae

Pseudomonas syringae is a rod-shaped gram-negative bacterium with polar flagella. As a widespread plant pathogen, it can exist in more than fifty different pathogenic forms and cause bacterial cankers in various commercial crops, causing serious economic losses. Various phages, including phages φXWY0013, φXWY0014, and φXWY0026, have demonstrated their potent inhibition against Pseudomonas syringae in experimental models.

Morphology of phages observed using TEM.Fig. 2 Morphology of phages observed using TEM. (Yin, 2019)

Other Bacteria

In addition to the above bacteria, many types of plant pathogens pose a major threat to crops, such as Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Xanthomonas spp., Erwinia amyloliquefaciens, Trichoderma spp., Dickella spp., etc. For these pathogens and the various diseases they cause, different phage therapies are also being tested and developed.

Related Services

To help address the enormous threat to crops and the agricultural industry posed by a variety of plant pathogens, Creative Biolabs offers novel phage therapy development services in the field of agriculture, Including the isolation, purification, amplification, identification, characterization, and engineering of phages through a variety of technical platforms, providing or modifying phages according to your needs, and verifying the killing ability of your phage against specific strains by a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information, or click the following links:


  1. Zaczek, M.A.; et al. Phage cocktail containing Podoviridae and Myoviridae bacteriophages inhibits the growth of Pectobacterium spp. under in vitro and in vivo conditions. PLoS ONE. 2020, 15(4): e0230842.
  2. Yin, Y.J.; et al. Isolation and characterisation of phages against Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. 2019, 69(3): 199-208.
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