Characterization of the wider collection of mycoviruses infecting the fungus Botrytis cinerea for its use as biocontrol agents

Botrytis cinerea is the fungus that causes gray mold in a wide range of host. The disease caused by this fungus causes serious economic losses for growers in a wide variety of crops, both in the field and in post-harvest.


The most effective method for its control is the application of fungicides, and this produce environmental or human health problems, which has led to the search for other alternatives such as the use of biological control agents.

In this paper, derived from the collaboration of Dr. Maria A. Ayllón of CBGP (UPM-INIA) with Dr. Davide Pacifico (Institute of Bioscience and Bioresources, National Research Council of Italy), within the European project H2020 VIROPLANT (Virome NGS analysis of pests and pathogens for plant protection, H2020-SFS-17) , an exhaustive analysis of B. cinerea mycovirome has been performed. The result of the project has led to a collection of mycoviruses with all kinds of genomes, double stranded RNA (dsRNA) and single stranded (ssRNA) (positive and negative) and single stranded DNA (ssDNA). Most of these mycoviruses have been discovered in this work, and others had already been found infecting B. cinerea or other plant pathogenic fungi. Some of these mycoviruses belong to genera known to produce hypovirulence in their fungal hosts and could be promising biological control agents of this fungus. Among the characterized mycoviruses are one with ssRNA- genome trisegmented and one with ssDNA genome, but most noteworthy has been the description of four new viruses with bisegmented genome (binarnavirus) that had not previously been described in nature. Currently, we are working with several of these mycoviruses to demonstrate the induction of hypovirulence in the fungus and to use them in the future as biological control agents.


Original Paper:

Ruiz-Padilla, A., Rodríguez-Romero, J., Gómez-Cid, I., Pacifico, D., Ayllón, M.A. 2021. Novel Mycoviruses Discovered in the Mycovirome of a Necrotrophic Fungus. mBio 12. DOI: 10.1128/mBio.03705-20