An Account on Mycoviruses and Their Applications

An Account on Mycoviruses and Their Applications

Md. Idrish Raja Khan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7062-3.ch013
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Mycoviruses are obligate parasites of fungi and can infect the majority of the fungal groups. They remain mysterious to various communities throughout the globe. Mycoviruses are responsible for certain changes in fungal hyphae, which could be asymptomatic and may cause a reduction or elimination of the virulence capacity of fungal hosts by the process called hypovirulence. Such fungal-virus system could be valuable for the development of novel biocontrol approaches against fungal pathogens for the development of a sustainable environment. There are adequate reports where mycovirus has been employed as a biocontrol approach against the pathogenic fungi in the fields of agriculture and other allied sciences. The prime focus of this review is to emphasize naturally available mycoviruses and strategies to adopt the mycovirus therapy which could serve as an excellent alternative strategy against chemical prophylactic and therapeutic approaches.
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Even after almost six decades from its first report from nature, mycoviruses are still very unique and new to humankind. Sometime they are also termed as mycophage. Like other viruses or bacteriophages, mycoviruses haven’t got much attention maybe because most mycoviruses cause asymptomatic infection. The first-ever report of mycovirus came in the year 1948 from a mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) farm owned of Pennsylvania, USA and they named the symptoms as La France disease, later based on the symptoms people also started to referring as watery stripe disease/ X disease/ dieback/ brown disease (Hollings, 1962). Soon after the first report, similar kind of infections was also reported from Japan, Australia and Europe (Ghabrial et al., 2015). But it was the year 1962, when Hollings reported the first-ever exact association of virus-like particles with diseased mushroom sporophores which ultimately gives rise to another branch of science i.e. mycovirology (Ghabrial & Suzuki, 2009). Later, Sanderlin and Ghabrial (1978) concluded that “the mycoviruses are infectious particle and cause infection to filamentous fungal pathogen”. Since the first report of mycovirus, Cryphonectria parasitica hypovirus 1 (CHV1) is the best-known mycovirus in the history of mycovirology and the rest remains underexplored.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Therapeutic: The branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease.

ICTV: The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses authorizes and organizes the taxonomic classification and nomenclatures for viruses. Headquarter is located in London, UK.

Anti-Microbial Resistance: AMR is the ability of pathogenic organisms to develop resistance to the effects of medication.

Hypovirulence: A kind of biological phenomenon in which the virulence capacity or pathogenicity of a pathogen is eliminated or reduced by being infected with a virus.

Chemotherapy: The treatment of any disease through chemical substances that binds to specific cells or specifically kills microbes.

Anti-Mycotic: Any agent that is fungicidal or fungistatic and capable enough in eliminating their growth and further proliferation.

Asymptomatic: Exhibiting no symptoms of a particular illness or abnormality.

Prophylactic: A medication or a treatment designed and used preventing the spread or occurrence of disease or infection.

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