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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400549

Research Project: Developing New Potatoes with Improved Quality, Disease Resistance, and Nutritional Content

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: Beet leafhopper transmitted pathogens in the Columbia basin

item Swisher Grimm, Kylie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/6/2023
Publication Date: 1/6/2023
Citation: Swisher Grimm, K.D. 2023. Beet leafhopper transmitted pathogens in the Columbia basin. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary: The beet leafhopper transmits beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (BLTVA), beet curly top virus (BCTV) and Spiroplasma citri at varying levels to potato and other vegetable and seed crops in the northwest United States, leading to significant economic damage if the insect is not properly controlled. In collaboration with Washington State University scientists, USDA-ARS scientists from Prosser and Wapato, Washington, assessed pathogen occurrence in both a small vegetable research plot and in a region-wide survey of beet leafhoppers collected from commercial potato and vegetable or seed fields. Preliminary results from the small plot study indicate that beet leafhopper pathogen occurrence does not correlate to pathogen occurrence in the plant. In the region-wide survey, levels of BCTV in beet leafhopper specimens were consistently high, levels of S. citri were low and BLTVA levels peaked mid-growing season. Understanding pathogen occurrence in the Columbia Basin of Washington will allow growers to make more informed decisions in their insect pest management programs.

Technical Abstract: The beet leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) is the vector of three different pathogens that can cause damage at economic levels in vegetable and seed crops in the Northwest U.S. These pathogens include Beet leafhopper transmitted virescence agent (BLTVA), Beet curly top virus (BCTV) and Spiroplasma citri. In a small plot study with six different vegetable and seed crops, BCTV levels were consistently high and S. citri levels were low in beet leafhopper specimens collected from the different crops, while BLTVA levels in the insect specimens varied across crops. Despite the occurrence of BLTVA, BCTV and S. citri in beet leafhoppers, pathogen prevalence was variable across all crops suggesting that beet leafhoppers may not transmit the pathogens consistently to each plant species. A region-wide sampling of beet leafhoppers from commercial potato, vegetable and seed crops similarly identified higher BCTV levels and lower S. citri levels across the Columbia Basin of Washington. BLTVA levels showed a peak in July. Results from this single year of data suggest that BCTV prevalence in beet leafhoppers may be higher in specimens collected near vegetable or seed crops as compared to potato, but subsequent data is needed to verify this. Understanding pathogen occurrence in beet leafhoppers collected across the Columbia Basin will aid growers making important insect pest management decisions.