A virological approach to biocontrol Botrytis cinerea, a plant pathogenic fungus also relevant to human health (EoI-TSP1-01)

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In addition to the vast problem that Botrytis cinerea disease represents for several crops and harvested products, and the impact of the indiscriminate use of fungicides on the environment, the fungus is also considered as an airborne mould with strong allergenic properties, and has been proposed to be included in the clinical routine of allergic diagnosis.B. cinerea causes gray mould, one of the most economically important diseases in several horticultural, ornamental and fruits crops, and also in postharvest. The control of this fungus is based on the use of fungicides, specially targeted to Botrytis, representing ca. 10% of the world fungicide market. However, the cost of its chemical control is enormous, economically and environmentally. Therefore, it is important to develop sustainable control strategies to reduce the negative impact of the fungicides and the fungus itself on the human health. One of the most innovative alternatives is the use of non-infectious proteinaceous antifungal nanoparticles. Natural antifungal proteins and plant peptides eliciting a general antimicrobial resistance have been identified as mediators of antifungal activity, therefore, the use of viral like particles derived from plant viruses expressing peptides or antifungal proteins, potentially active against B. cinerea, will control the infection of the fungus in the plant and the development and subsequent liberation of the spores to the air. Another promising alternative is the use of mycovirus-mediated hypovirulent strains of the fungus that produces less spores or decrease their allergenic properties, controlling also the human health effects, and that will be introduced in fields, greenhouses or fruit warehouses to control the virulent strains of the fungus. Thus, the principal objectives of this EoI will be: the isolation of mycoviruses from natural B. cinerea isolates; their identification and the study of their role in the immunological activity and the virulence of the fungus; as well as the production of non-infectious viral nanoparticles with antifungal activity aimed to control B.cinerea. Maria A. Ayllon http://www.cbgp.upm.es/index.php/es/lineas-de-investigacion-asociadas?i… Diaz-Perales http://www.cbgp.upm.es/index.php/es/biotecnologia-y-bioinformatica?id=9… Ponz http://www.cbgp.upm.es/index.php/es/informacion-cientifica/biotecnologi…