Phage Therapy of Coral White Plague Disease: Properties of Phage BA3
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The bacteriophage BA3 multiplies in and lyses the coral pathogen Thalassomonas loyana. The complete genome of phage BA3 was sequenced; it contains 47 open reading frames with a 40.9% G + C content. Phage BA3 adsorbed to its starved host in seawater with a k = 1.0 × 10−6 phage ml−1 min−1. Phage therapy of coral disease in aquarium experiments was successful when the phage was added at the same time as the pathogen or 1 day later, but failed to protect the coral when added 2 days after bacterial infection. When the phages were added 1 day after coral infection, the phage titer increased about 100-fold and remained present in the aquarium water throughout the 37-day experiment. At the end of the experiment, the concentration of phages associated with the corals was 2.5 ± 0.5 × 104 per cm2 of coral surface. Corals that were infected with the pathogen and treated with phage did not transmit the disease to healthy corals.
KeywordsCoral Reef Coral Disease Phage Therapy Aquarium Water Healthy Coral
This research was supported by grants from the Israel Center for the Study of Emerging Diseases, the Israel Science Foundation, and the World Bank Coral Disease and Bleaching Groups.
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