First field trials

Kimitec, ZHAW, Enviroinvest and DOP Peras de Rincón de Soto have been working on PhageFire project for more than a year and a half. The project, funded by the framework of the EC Horizon 2020, aims to develop an effective, sustainable, and safe product based on bacteriophages against the Fire Blight which severely affects pome fruit production.

PhageFire has already selected a cocktail of phages and they are ready to be applied and tested in the field. Phages have been isolated from samples of different productive areas including DOP Peras de Rincón de Soto, Poland, Transylvania…

Cocktail doses

Illustration 1: Cocktail doses

Among the isolated phages have been selected those with higher potential regarding their virulence, host range, receptors specificity, and lytic activity.

Illustration 2: Lytic activity of phage

The cocktail includes some adjuvants which will help to enhance the efficacy of the phages. Research work has been conducted on choosing solar protectants that provide maximum protection to the phages. Research about other excipients that could help the spread of the product to completely cover the flowers has been carried out.

March, the weather conditions are ideal for the field trials and we started the experiments in pear and apple orchards in Spain, coinciding the first application with the opening of the first flowers.

Illustration 3: Pear field trial

Illustration 4: Apple field trial, Spain

During this next month, we will start another field trial on apples in Hungary. These field trials will allow us to confirm the efficacy of the cocktail in the field, after checking its efficacy in laboratory tests.

We are looking forward to see the results and keep working on PhageFire.