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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Frederick, Maryland » Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research » Research » Research Project #442425

Research Project: Improved Management of Cacao Mild Mosaic Virus (CaMMV) by Identifying Alternative Hosts Serving as Inoculum Reservoirs

Location: Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research

Project Number: 8044-22000-048-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 16, 2022
End Date: Jun 13, 2025

This project will use a newly developed diagnostic test to identify plant species in Puerto Rico that can serve as alternate hosts of CaMMV. Several relatives of Theobroma cacao are present on the island and could serve as inoculum reservoirs or sources of infection. This research will increase knowledge of CaMMV epidemiology, leading to more effective management strategies in affected locations. These research results will have a significant impact by preventing introduction of the disease and reducing virus transmission in areas where it is already established.

Several relatives of Theobroma cacao (Malvaceae family) are present in commercial production areas in Puerto Rico. The Cooperator will coordinate and conduct sampling of potential alternative hosts on commercial farms. Three leaves from each tree will be collected by the Cooperator, photographed for symptom assessment, and shipped to Fort Detrick, MD for downstream analyses. Areas of naturalized cacao (descended from plants introduced over 100 years ago) will be sampled when possible, to determine which virus strains may be endemic.