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item Thomas, Peter
item Crosslin, James
item PIKE, K
item Munyaneza, Joseph - Joe
item HAMM, P
item Upton, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Potato Progress
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2003
Publication Date: 6/6/2003
Citation: Thomas, P.E., Crosslin, J., Pike, K.S., Schrieber, A., Jensen, A., Munyaneza, J.E., Hamm, P.B., Nielsen, M., Upton, J.E. 2003. Sources and dissemination of BLTVA in potatoes. Potato Progress. June III(7):3-4.

Interpretive Summary: The beet leafhopper-transmitted viresence agent (BLTVA) is a plant pathogenic phytoplasm that is spread by the beet leafhopper and is causing devastating economic losses in the potato crop of the Columbia Basin of the Northwest. This article provides information about the biology of the BLTVA and its leafhopper vector relevant to control of the disease in potatoes and other crops. It points out that nearly all the disease in potatoes is derived from winter annual weeds that provide for overwinter survival of both the leafhopper vector and the phytoplasm. The leafhoppers carry the disease from the overwintering weeds to potato during late May and early June, and control of the disease may be achieved by controlling the leafhoppers at the potato field during this particular time period.

Technical Abstract: The beet leafhopper is the only known vector of the beet leafhopper-transmitted viresence agent (BLTVA), a plant pathogenic phytoplasm that infects potato and is causing large economic losses in the Columbia Basin. The leafhopper acquires BLTVA from winter annual weed hosts (mostly mustards) that provide overwinter survival for both the vector and BLTVA. It spreads BLTVA from the overwintering weeds to potatoes and other crops during leafhopper migrations that occur in late May and June. Thus, efforts to control the disease by killing beet leafhoppers must be implemented during this crucial period. Because potato is not a good host of the beet leafhopper and because the processes required for transmission require extended periods of time, nearly all BLTVA infection within potato fields originates from sources outside the field, and secondary spread within the fields rarely, if ever, occurs. Potato volunteers and seed potatoes are not important sources of BLTVA since the disease agent rarely survives from one tuber generation to the next in the tuber.