Phage combination therapies for bacterial wilt disease in tomato ($) (Nature Biotech)

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. As agents that weaken or destroy pathogens, they have shown therapeutic promise in human and plant disease treatment. Wang et al. studied the effect on pathogenic Ralstonia solanacearum of different phages individually and in combinations in the rhizosphere of host tomato plant. They conducted experiments in the greenhouse and also in field conditions. They found a combinations of phages to be more effective on reduction of disease than individual phage. The effect on the rhizosphere microbiome was also analyzed during this study and found that the changes in microbiome composition can be driven by indirect feedback mechanism of interaction between phages and pathogenic bacteria. Moreover, the host specificity of phages makes it possible to solely eradicate pathogenic bacteria from the field without hampering plant health. This study supported the use of phages as a precision tool to improve plant protection against pathogenic bacteria. (Summary by Mugdha Sabale) Nature Biotech 10.1038/s41587-019-0328-3