In the Balearic Islands researcher is progressing into the selection and testing of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages, also known as phages) to treat crops affected by Xylella fastidiosa. The BeXyl project has contributed to the early stages of this research.
Pilar Domingo-Calap, a member of the BeXyl team, is scientific director of Evolving Therapeutic, a spin-off of the University of Valencia and is leading the project, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture of the Government of the Balearic Islands.
The piece of research builds on previous work by I2SysBio, a joint centre of the University of Valencia (UV), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and the Valencian Institute of Agricultural Research (IVIA). The current activity started with a study to isolate phages capable of killing X. fastidiosa and understand their potential use in plants, when new phages were isolated in the research group of Pilar Domingo-Calap, in collaboration with the group of Ester Marco-Noales (IVIA).
The pilot treatment is a first in Spain. “We implement personalised solutions based on phages, which will eliminate the target bacteria specifically, maintaining the microbiota of the organism to be treated, whether it is a plant, an animal, or even patients”, Pilar Domingo-Calap explained in an article published on the University of Valencia website.