Role of Exopolysaccharides and Monosaccharides in Erwinia amylovora Resistance to Bacteriophages
Fire blight is a disease caused by the phytopathogenic bacterium Erwinia amylovora, an economically important pathogen in the commercial production of apples and pears. Bacteriophages have been proposed as a commercial biopesticide to relieve the pressures on apple and pear production and provide alternatives to existing biological control options. This work reports on the investigation of host resistance in the development of a phage biopesticide. Exopolysaccharide (EPS) deficient bacterial mutants were generated through recombineering to investigate the role of EPS in bacteriophage adsorption and infection. The mutants that were deficient in amylovoran production were avirulent and resistant to infection by phages of the Podoviridae and some of the Siphoviridae family. Levan deficient bacterial mutants resulted in reduced phage titers in some phages from the Myoviridae family. Exopolysaccharide mimetic monosaccharides were used to demonstrate that levan and amylovoran play an important role in phage attack of E. amylovora.