Phage therapy of coral disease

R. Efrony, Y. Loya, E. Bacharach, E. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


At present there are no known procedures for preventing or treating infectious diseases of corals. Toward this end, the use of phage therapy has been investigated. Lytic bacteriophages (phages) were isolated for two bacterial pathogens that are responsible for coral diseases, Vibrio coralliilyticus, which is the causative agent of bleaching and tissue lysis of Pocillopora damicornis, and Thalosomonas loyaeana, which causes the white plague-like disease of Favia favus. By using these phages in controlled aquaria experiments, it was demonstrated that each of these diseases could be controlled by the pathogen-specific phage. The data indicate that initially the phages bind to the pathogen in seawater and are then brought to the coral surface where they multiply and lyse the pathogen. The phages remained associated with the coral and could prevent subsequent infections. These data suggest that phage therapy has the potential to control the spread of infectious coral diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank L. Doron for helpful suggestions, R.J. Martinez, G. Cohen and D. Harvell for critical reading of the manuscript and Gil Sharon for assistance in collecting corals. This research was supported by grants from the Israel Center for the Study of Emerging Diseases, the Israel Science Foundation and the World Bank Coral Disease and bleaching Groups.


  • Bacteriophage
  • Coral disease
  • Favia favus
  • Phage therapy
  • Pocillopora damicornis


Dive into the research topics of 'Phage therapy of coral disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this