Importance of cucurbits in the epidemiology of Papaya ringspot virus type P




Papaya ringspot virus type P (PRSV-P) systemically infects Carica papaya and species belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. Attempts to recover PRSV-P from naturally infected cucurbit plants grown near or among diseased papaya trees have shown conflicting results worldwide. This study aimed to evaluate the natural infection of cucurbit species grown among and near papaya trees infected with PRSV-P in Brazil. Natural infection of cucurbits with PRSV-P occurred in zucchini squash but not in watermelon and cucumber. However, several attempts to recover PRSV-P from numerous Cucurbita pepo cv. Caserta (zucchini squash) plants grown 5–80 m from diseased papaya trees in the field failed. Mechanical inoculations of Cucurbita pepo cv. Caserta, Cucurbita maxima cv. Exposição (pumpkin), Cucumis sativus cv. Primepack Plus (cucumber) and Citrullus lanatus cv. Crimson Sweet (watermelon) with five Brazilian PRSV-P isolates showed that zucchini squash was the most susceptible species followed by watermelon and cucumber, while pumpkin was not infected. The results confirmed the variable susceptibility of cucurbit species to experimental and natural PRSV-P infection. Given these facts, the control of the disease through roguing should focus mainly on diseased papaya plants, as has been practised successfully in Brazil for many years, and on those cucurbits particularly known to be susceptible to natural infection with PRSV-P.