• ELISA;
  • potato cultivar;
  • powdery scab;
  • root galling;
  • Solanum tuberosum;
  • spraing

Potato mop-top virus (PMTV) causes disease in both the growing plant and tubers (spraing) of potato and is transmitted by the plasmodiophorid Spongospora subterranea, the cause of powdery scab. The effect of temperature during plant growth on the transmission of PMTV from infected seed tubers and from infested growing media was investigated in a series of glasshouse experiments. Symptoms developed on foliage of plants derived from infected seed tubers but none developed when PMTV was transmitted by S. subterranea in soil. The incidence of foliar symptoms was greatest on plants grown at 12°C, less at 16°C, few at 20°C and absent at 24°C. The transmission of PMTV from infected seed tubers was not significantly affected by temperatures between 12 and 24°C, but when the virus was transmitted by S. subterranea, minimal tuber infection occurred at 24°C and no differences were recorded at temperatures between 12 and 20°C. The incidence of powdery scab on tubers was greatest at 12 and 16°C and very low at 20 and 24°C. However, the incidence and severity of root galling caused by S. subterranea, was greatest at 20 and very low at 24°C. The incidence of powdery scab was greater on tubers of plants derived from infected seed tubers grown in a fluctuating temperature regime of 12 h at 20°C followed by 24 h at 12°C than on those grown at a constant 20°C, whereas the incidence of tuber infection by PMTV and spraing was similar for both regimes. This demonstrates that infection of roots can occur at a higher temperature than that for powdery scab on tubers and that this root infection can enable the transmission of PMTV into the potato plant.