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New environmental-friendly compounds to combat citrus canker

Grant number: 13/24449-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): May 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Henrique Ferreira
Grantee:Isabel Cristiane da Silva
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


The culture of citrus fruits is one of the most important agricultural economic activities in Brazil, notably in the state of São Paulo. Citrus culture is constantly under threat of plant diseases. A major disease is citrus canker that is caused by the bacterial plant pathogen Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xac). Current modes of prevention of plant infection by Xac or the spreading of infection to new areas include spraying trees with copper containing bactericides and eradication of trees. Despite all the efforts made to control citrus diseases, last decade registered the loss of an enormous amount of trees (corresponding to around 300 Million tons of fruit/year) and a negative impact on soil quality is expected since copper accumulates in the environment. Therefore, more sustainable ways to combat citrus canker are urgently needed. The Brazilian partner in this proposal has recently identified and characterized a class of plant-derived semi-synthetic compounds, the alkyl gallates, with promising activity against Xac. The Dutch partner in this proposal is currently involved in the identification of the bacterial target of the alkyl gallates and initial results strongly suggest that the target of the compounds is the essential bacterial cell division protein FtsZ. Our very promising initial results form the basis of this proposal, that aims to improve the sustainability of citriculture by developing novel, environmental-friendly, antibacterials to combat Xac. We will use existing and novel lead compounds with activity against Xac as a platform for chemical synthesis to enhance the antibacterial activity. The bacterial targets of the compounds and their modes of action will be characterized in detail. Finally, experiments to evaluate the efficacy of these compounds in the field and their toxicity to plants and animals will be determined. Combined, we expect to develop compounds that can be used as a sustainable method to combat citrus canker and contribute with new alternatives to control the spread of Xac in citrus orchards.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SILVA, I. C.; POLAQUINI, C. R.; REGASINI, L. O.; FERREIRA, H.; PAVAN, F. R.. Evaluation of cytotoxic, apoptotic, mutagenic, and chemopreventive activities of semi-synthetic esters of gallic acid. Food and Chemical Toxicology, v. 105, p. 300-307, . (13/24449-7)

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