The treatment of bacterial disease of plants by bacteriophage coated nanoparticles

  • Sara Filgueira Martinez

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Bacterial phytopathogens are a recurring issue for agricultural plants.Traditional control measures include copper treatment and use of pesticides and antibiotics. The use of bacteriophages that selectively kill the causative pathogen as an alternative treatment has been delayed by technical difficulties associated with phage stability and deployment methods. In this project, we developed phage-coated nanoparticles for the control of tomato plant soft rot, caused by Pectobacterium carotovorum, as a model system.Scottish crops were used as a source to isolate new bacteriophages,followed by triple isolation of single plaques formed after infection. Using the enrichment technique, that uses bacteria to isolate the virus from a soil sample, twelve potentially different bacteriophages were recovered and fully characterised. All of the phages isolated resemble T7 based on morphology by transmission electron microscopy; consistent with the genomic characterisation, electron microscopy revealed that the phages displayed a morphology characteristic of the Podoviridae. Subsequently, we covalently bound a collection of phages to the surface of different nanoparticles and the capacity of these phage coated nanoparticles to control bacterial plant disease was assessed.This new technology fully retains the antimicrobial capacity of the bacteriophages and enhances its stability, particularly against dehydration,making this technology a potentially good candidate for use of biocontrol agents for crop pathogen treatment.
Date of Award7 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsEPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), BBSRC (Biotech & Biological Sciences Research Council) & University of Strathclyde
SupervisorPaul Herron (Supervisor) & Paul Hoskisson (Supervisor)

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