An outbreak of Potato spindle tuber viroid in tomato is linked to imported seed
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In 2011, an outbreak of the quarantine-regulated pathogen Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) occurred in a commercial glasshouse-grown tomato crop in Queensland, Australia. Phylogenetic studies showed that the genotype of this isolate grouped in a cluster of PSTVd genotypes from tomato and Physalis peruviana, and exhibited an interesting mutation (U257→A) that has previously been linked to lethal symptom expression in tomato. Transmission studies showed that the viroid could be mechanically transmitted from crushed fruit sap, but not from undamaged fruits. A low rate of asymptomatic infection was determined for plants in the affected glasshouse, demonstrating the efficacy of using symptoms to detect PSTVd infections in tomato. No PSTVd infections were detected in solanaceous weeds located outside of the infected glasshouse, excluding them from playing a role in the viroid epidemiology. Monitoring and subsequent testing of new tomato crops grown in the facility demonstrated successful eradication of the pathogen. A trace-back analysis linked the outbreak of PSTVd to an infected imported tomato seed-lot, indicating that PSTVd is transmitted internationally through contaminated seed.
KeywordsPospiviroid Solanum lycopersicum Quarantine Inoculation Detection RT-PCR
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
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