Submitted to: Bemisia International Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 24, 2009
Publication Date: November 9, 2009
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Ling, K., Harrison Jr, H.F., Jackson, D.M. 2009. Transmission of Sweet Potato Leaf Curl Virus by Bemisia Tabaci. Bemisia International Workshop Proceedings. p. 4. Technical Abstract: Sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. (Solanales: Convolvulaceae), is an important world food crop, and Asia is the focal production region. Because it is vegetatively propagated, sweetpotato is especially prone to accumulate infections by several viruses. Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV) (ssDNA viruses: Geminiviridae), a Begomovirus, is an emerging problem in sweetpotato in the United States and elsewhere. SPLCV is vectored by the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). This insect has long been recognized as a pest of sweetpotato as reflected by its common name. Since the recent finding of SPLCV infecting sweetpotato in South Carolina, US, we conducted several experiments to investigate whitefly, sweetpotato and virus associations. SPLCV infection was determined by a combination of bioassay using a sensitive species (Ipomoea setosa Ker Gawl.) as an indicator plant and by real-time PCR technology. We conducted laboratory, greenhouse, and field experiments on: host range, plant performance, transmission, acquisition, and retention of SPLCV by B. tabaci. Several morningglory (Ipomea) species were identified as alternative hosts for SPLCV, but other taxa were not infected. SPLCV infection can result in a dramatic yield reduction on sweetpotato in the field, but yields of some cultivars were reduced more than others. Individual B. tabaci appears to be moderately efficient in acquiring and transmitting SPLCV. However, the expanding occurrence of the virus and increasing populations of B. tabaci pose a serious threat to sweetpotato production worldwide. These findings will help in understanding the factors influencing the epidemiology of SPLCV in the sweetpotato field.