Occurrence of maize lethal necrosis in Ecuador: a disease without boundaries?
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Maize plants displaying severe mosaic, chlorosis and, in some cases, necrosis were observed in two provinces of Ecuador. Shotgun sequencing of cDNA obtained from double-stranded RNA extracted from symptomatic samples revealed the presence of Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) and Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV), two components of maize lethal necrosis. In 2015, a survey conducted in Los Ríos, Manabí and Guayas, major maize production areas in the country, showed that the two viruses were present in a significant number of plants. Mixed infections were detected and associated with severe symptoms. MCMV was also detected in two hybrid seed lots, a significant finding for the epidemiology of the disease in Ecuador. The report of maize lethal necrosis, today the most significant virus disease of maize, in Ecuador is of great concern for producers in the South American continent because of the potential of an epidemic as that observed in east Africa in recent years.
KeywordsMaize Corn Lethal Necrosis Ecuador South America SCMV MCMV
The authors would like to thank maize growers in Manabí, Los Ríos and Guayas, and the Ecuadorean Agency for Quality Assurance in Agriculture (AGROCALIDAD) for their support during field trips and providing hybrid seeds for testing.
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