Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract Full Text

New alternate hosts of begomoviruses associated with chili pepper crops in Cauca Valley, Colombia.


Begomoviruses (DNA viruses with circular genome) are one of the main threats to crops growing at subtropical and tropical areas around the world. There are many studies which have shown that begomoviruses evolve by mechanisms of genetic exchange, which can occur in alternate hosts such as weeds. Weeds are widely distributed throughout the world and have a high environmental adaptability. The goal of this investigation was to identify alternate hosts of begomoviruses in weeds associated with pepper (Capsicum spp.) crops growing in Cauca Valley, Colombia. Weeds with and without viral symptoms around of pepper crops located to the municipalities of Zarzal, Vijes, Toro, Unión, Roldanillo and Guacarí were collected. Their identity was conducted at the Herbarium of the Universidad Nacional of Colombia, Josep Cuatrecasas Arumí. The detection of begomovirus was performed by PCR using universal primers that amplify 400 bp, corresponding to a fragment of the viral coat protein gene. We collected 179 weeds and in 13 of them (Sida acuta, Malvastrum sp, Rivina humilis, Acalypha sp, Parthenium hysterophorus, Euphorbia hirta, Rhynchosia minima) were positive for begomovirus. For weeds such as sida acuta and acalypha sp, this is their first report as a host of begomovirus in Colombia and Latin America. These results provided us with new families as host of begomovirus and also confirmed the begomovirus presence in previously reported weeds in Valle del Cauca. There is a pressing need to obtain additional information on the diversity and distribution of weeds as a host of begomoviruses, in order to develop not only virus control methods but also avoid the begomovirus spreading from weeds to crops of economic interest.