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The dead canes in
this Oregon field are signs of severe black raspberry decline. Click the
image for more information about it.
Halting Black Raspberry Decline
McGinnis June 1, 2006
A new virus associated with black raspberry decline has been
identified by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Oregon, the nation's
primary producer of black raspberries.
According to research leader and plant pathologist
Martin, with the ARS
Crops Research Unit at Corvallis, Ore., decline is generally a symptom of a
virus complex. However, plants infected with the newly identified black
raspberry decline-associated virus (BRDaV) will show symptoms even if the plant
has no other diseases.
Black raspberries are a delicious source of ellagic acid, vitamin C,
antioxidants, anthocyanins and other important nutrients. In affected plants,
BRDaV causes yellow, puckered and spotted leaves, yield reduction and cane
diebackthe gradual death of shoots, branches and roots, from the tip
Decline shortens a plant's life expectancy from several decades to
three to four years, with severe economic repercussions. Identifying BRDaV as a
cause of decline is an important step towards controlling the disease. Martin
and his colleagues have obtained genetic information on 17 berry viruses,
The team learned that BRDaV hitches a ride on the raspberry aphid
Amphorophora agathonica. In fact, spread rates appear to be directly
related to aphid numbers. This suggests that controlling the aphid population
could slow the disease's proliferation.
The Corvallis researchers also learned that BRDaV can infect other
commercial and native Rubus berry plantssuch as blackberry and
raspberrywithout triggering symptoms, making isolation from other
commercial berry plantings an important part of any disease-control strategy.
about the research in the June 2006 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.