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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Groundnut Ringspot Virus, An Emerging Thrips-Transmitted Virus Infecting Florida Tomato, Pepper and Other Specialty Crops

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To characterize crop and weed hosts, and insect vectors of Groundnut ringspot virus to facilitate development of better management options for this newly emerging virus infecting Florida fresh-market vegetables including tomato and pepper.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The nucleic acid-based diagnostic test for Groundnut ringspot virus previously developed by ARS Scientists will be used to analyze natural and/or experimental plant hosts (crops and weeds) for this virus to develop a host range for the virus. Locally important thrips species will be analyzed for their ability to transmit the virus. The information generated from this research should be useful to fresh-market vegetable growers, the specialty crop industry, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, private crop consultants and FDACS to guide development of management strategies for this newly emerging virus.


3.Progress Report:

This report is related to inhouse project objectives: 2. Develop/refine rapid, sensitive reliable detection/sampling methods for pathogens, and 3. Develop or improve comprehensive integrated disease management strategies.

Thrips transmission experiments refined methodology and yielded additional information on which local thrips species may transmit Groundnut ringspot virus (GRSV) in Florida. This included testing of larger numbers of some species, including Frankliniella schultzei. Additional thrips species were collected with collaborators for further transmission experiments. An experimental host range test with GRSV has nearly been completed. Experimental hosts identified are thus far confined to the tomato (Solanaceae) family, matching well with our prior reports of natural infection of tomato, pepper, tomatillo and eggplant. Field sampling of weeds and crops in vegetable fields in conjunction with collaborators has resulted in confirmation of GRSV in many south Florida growing areas. Additional counties and weed hosts have been identified. Collaborators have collected weekly thrips counts and GRSV incidence data from disease hotspots, in many cases using smartphone-based online scouting and decision support system. GRSV updates provided via vegetable grower meeting and a University of Florida IFAS/EDIS fact sheet. Collectively these results represent substantial progress in project efforts to determine which local thrips species are important for GRSV transmission in Florida and which local weeds and crops may serve as GRSV reservoirs in Florida.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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