Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

First report of Southern tomato virus in tomato crops in Italy.

Abstract

Twenty-five tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum) showing symptoms of viral disease were sampled from different greenhouses in the Ragusa province (Southern Italy) in summer 2015. Plants showed chlorosis on leaves and fruits and deformation and depressed spots of dark colour which later evolved into necrosis. These symptoms were observed on the entire cluster of fruit making the product unsaleable. Based on these symptoms, samples were analysed for Cucumber mosaic virus, Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), Potato virus Y (PVY), Tomato mosaic virus and Tomato spotted wilt virus by DAS-ELISA with polyclonal antibodies, and for the emerging Southern tomato virus (STV) by RT-PCR. Three of the 25 samples analysed were positive only for PepMV whereas the rest of the samples had mixed infections: 15 plants were co-infected with PepMV and PVY, and 7 with STV, PepMV and PVY. This is thought to be the first report of STV in Italy. STV has been associated with a tomato disease consisting of general leaf yellowing, stunting and different fruit malformations. However, symptoms of STV, such as those observed in Sicily, remain unclear because the virus has been always detected in mixed infections.