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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF TEMPERATE FRUIT NUT AND SPECIALTY CROP GENETIC RESOURCES

Location: National Clonal Germplasm Repository (Corvallis, Oregon)

Title: Mint Viruses: Beauty, Stealth and Disease

Authors
item Tzanetakis, Ioannis -
item POSTMAN, JOSEPH
item Samad, A. -
item MARTIN, ROBERT

Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2009
Publication Date: January 20, 2010
Repository URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/place/53581500/postman/tzanetakisetal.2010.mintviruses.plantdisease94.pdf
Citation: Tzanetakis, I.E., Postman, J.D., Samad, A., Martin, R.R. 2010. Mint Viruses: Beauty, Stealth and Disease. Plant Disease. 94(1):4-12.

Interpretive Summary: Mint has been cultivated for thousands of years for the unique fragrances produced by its volatile oils. The major areas of production include India, the United States, China, and Brazil. Mint is a vegetatively propagated crop and world-wide sharing of plant material along with repeated clonal propagation by nurseries, growers and researchers has provided many opportunities for viruses to accumulate in popular clones and spread throughout the world. Several new viruses were recently reported in mint plants conserved at the USDA mint genebank in Oregon, in plants obtained from commercial nurseries and in mint production fields throughout the United States. This paper summarizes both recent and historic world literature on mint viruses and discuses the potential impact of these pathogens on commercial production of mint as an oil crop. In addition to the dissemination of mint viruses by humans through the movement of plant material, most of the viruses known to infect mint can also be spead from plant to plant by either nematodes, aphids, thrips or white flys. The mode of natural transmission for some is still unknown. Disease symptoms often do not develop unless a plant is infected simultaneously with more than one virus. With the recent advances in virus detection technologies, it is now possible to quickly identify field plants with either single or multiple infections. Expanded mint certification programs that deliver pathogen free planting material to nurseries and growers have the potential for increasing yields and planting longevity. Such programs would also reduce the risk of moving viruses into new environments where novel vectors might lead to serious diseases in mint, and the spread of viruses to other crops or native plants.

Technical Abstract: Mint has been cultivated for thousands of years for the unique fragrances produced by its volatile oils. The major areas of production include India, the United States, China, and Brazil. Mint is a vegetatively propagated crop and world-wide sharing of plant material along with repeated clonal propagation by nurseries, growers and researchers has provided many opportunities for viruses to accumulate in popular clones and spread throughout the world. Several new viruses were recently reported in mint plants conserved at the USDA mint genebank in Oregon, in plants obtained from commercial nurseries and in mint production fields throughout the United States. This paper summarizes both recent and historic world literature on mint viruses and discuses the potential impact of these pathogens on commercial production of mint as an oil crop. In addition to the dissemination of mint viruses by humans through the movement of plant material, most of the viruses known to infect mint can also be spead from plant to plant by either nematodes, aphids, thrips or white flys. The mode of natural transmission for some is still unknown. Disease symptoms often do not develop unless a plant is infected simultaneously with more than one virus. With the recent advances in virus detection technologies, it is now possible to quickly identify field plants with either single or multiple infections. Expanded mint certification programs that deliver pathogen free planting material to nurseries and growers have the potential for increasing yields and planting longevity. Such programs would also reduce the risk of moving viruses into new environments where novel vectors might lead to serious diseases in mint, and the spread of viruses to other crops or native plants.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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