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New Zealand Plant Protection 63 (2010): 276

Viral infection of the kumara crop

S.L. Lewthwaite and J.D. Fletcher


Viral infection within the New Zealand kumara (Ipomoea batatas) or sweetpotato crop has not been considered an important production issue until recent times. The visual symptoms of viral infection may be quite inconspicuous. The general presence of 'Sweetpotato viruses' was formally acknowledged in 1989, based on published literature. New Zealand's first extensive kumara crop virus survey was published in 2000. Using nitrocellulose membrane ELISA, this survey detected the presence of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), virus C-6, Sweetpotato caulimo-like virus (SPCaLV), Sweetpotato chlorotic fleck virus (SPCFV or C-2), Sweetpotato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV), Sweetpotato latent virus (SwPLV), Sweetpotato mild mottle virus (SPMMV) and Sweetpotato mild speckling virus (SPMSV, formerly C-8). Sweetpotato virus G (SPVG) was first identified within New Zealand kumara in 2005. A second comprehensive crop survey, using real-time reverse transcription PCR, was published in 2009. This survey revealed a virus previously undetected in New Zealand, Sweetpotato virus 2 (SPV2). International research and subsequent commercial experience with virus-tested propagation systems has shown the potential for economically significant yield and quality gains. The local industry has started examining the benefits of kumara virus elimination within the New Zealand biophysical production environment.

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