Sugarcane yellow leaf virus, the causal agent of yellow leaf, is transmitted from plant to plant by aphids. Understanding and evaluating the epidemic risks due to spread of yellow leaf by aphids is an important feature for sugarcane production. Four distinct sugarcane trials were set up with disease-free plants to study the relationship between spread of yellow leaf, the vector dynamics and environmental conditions that may favour yellow leaf epidemics. The study was performed by surveys of vector populations and determination of plant infections. Sugarcane cultivar SP71-6163, highly susceptible to yellow leaf, was analyzed spatially at different dates in all four trials and compared to commercial cultivars in two of the four trials. These surveys allowed us to identify a correlation between the aphid dynamics in the field and yellow leaf progress. Additionally, a negative correlation was found between rainfall during the first weeks after transferring sugarcane plants to the field and aphid dispersal within the field. This later result revealed an impact of rainfall on aphid invasion and subsequent plant infection by SCYLV. If aphids are the key factor for disease spread, plant response varied also according to cultivar resistance with high variation depending on rain conditions.
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This work was supported in part by the “Conseil Régional de Martinique”, the “Conseil Régional de Guadeloupe”, and the European Union. We would like to thank R. Boisne-Noc and S. Joseph for technical assistance.
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Daugrois, J.H., Edon-Jock, C., Bonoto, S. et al. Spread of Sugarcane yellow leaf virus in initially disease-free sugarcane is linked to rainfall and host resistance in the humid tropical environment of Guadeloupe. Eur J Plant Pathol 129, 71–80 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-010-9693-y