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Evaluation of the lytic potential of endolysins encoded by Xanthomonas citri phages

Grant number: 22/01814-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Henrique Ferreira
Grantee:Mario Nicolas Caccalano
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


Brazil is the largest producer of sweet orange in the world, with the state of São Paulo being the largest Brazilian producer of citrus fruits. This production, although highly successful, is constantly threatened by pests and diseases. Among the infectious diseases, citrus canker is one of the most worrisome and widespread, being caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (X. citri). This disease currently affects practically 15% of the trees in the state, losing only in incidence to greening (HLB), which already occupies ~20% of the citrus belt. X. citri is capable of infecting all citrus cultivars of economic interest and the main form of control of this phytopathogen is through the application of integrated management methods, such as the use of copper-based formulations, installation of windbreaks, use of healthy seedlings to start orchards and the control of citrus leaf miner larvae. Copper is an effective metal to contain new infections, but it accumulates in soils and, in high concentrations, can be toxic to many organisms. In addition, copper-resistant strains of X. citri have been reported. Bacteriophages are a group of viruses that specifically infect bacterial cells. Phages present lysis proteins, the endolysins. These enzymes are able to lyse the peptidoglycan of bacterial cells, essentially breaking their membrane from the inside out. Thus, the objective of this work will be to evaluate the potential of these enzymes as possible antimicrobials for X. citri.

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