Virocontrol：Control of fungi using viruses
Crop plants are infected by various types of pathogenes including viruses, bacteria and fungi. Crop losses by these pathogens correspond to food enough for 100 million people. Particularly losses caused by fungi are huge and occupy 80% of them. “Virocontrol” is an approach to control phytopathogenic fungi using viruses infecting them.
Viruses are omnipresent and found in all cellular organisms from bacteria to humans. Like other eukaryotic viruses, most fungal viruses are asymptomatic. Exceptional viruses weaken fungal hosts. These symptomatic viruses play major roles in virocontrol. For example, hypoviruses have been protecting chestnut trees in Europe against destructive the chestnut blight fungus. Our project involves search for candidate virocontrol agents (viruses) toward protection of fruit trees against the white root rot fungus. Recent achievements include the discoveries of potential virocontrol agents and the development of laboratory-level virocontrol.