Antimicrobial peptides and plant disease control


  • Editor: Richard Staples

Correspondence: Emilio Montesinos, Institute of Food and Agricultural Technology, University of Girona, Campus de Montilivi,
s/n, 17001 Girona (Spain). Tel.:+34 972418427; fax.+34 972418399; e-mail:


Several diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi affect plant crops, resulting in losses and decreasing the quality and safety of agricultural products. Plant disease control relies mainly on chemical pesticides that are currently subject to strong restrictions and regulatory requirements. Antimicrobial peptides are interesting compounds in plant health because there is a need for new products in plant protection that fit into the new regulations. Living organisms secrete a wide range of antimicrobial peptides produced through ribosomal (defensins and small bacteriocins) or non-ribosomal synthesis (peptaibols, cyclopeptides and pseudopeptides). Several antimicrobial peptides are the basis for the design of new synthetic analogues, have been expressed in transgenic plants to confer disease protection or are secreted by microorganisms that are active ingredients of commercial biopesticides.