Improved diagnosis of barley yellow mosaic (BaYMV) and barley mild mosaic (BaMMV) viruses was obtained by adjusting the buffers used in immunospecific electron microscopy (ISEM) to ensure a pH ≥ 7-0 and in ELISA by replacing ovalbumin with 10 g/l full cream milk powder.
Over 70% of samples of winter barley with symptoms of mosaic received from different sites in the UK during 1987-90 had BaYMV and 37% had BaMMV, with 11% containing both viruses. BaMMV was much more common on malting cultivars than on those grown for feed and this resulted in an easterly bias to the geographical distribution of the virus. Both viruses were, however, widely distributed in areas where winter barley is grown intensively. A small number of BaYMV records were from cultivars previously regarded as resistant and these are probably a distinct strain of the virus.