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The importance of the infected seed tuber and soil inoculum in transmitting Potato mop-top virus to potato plants



Potato mop-top virus (PMTV), the cause of spraing in potato tubers, is transmitted by Spongospora subterranea, the cause of powdery scab, and by planting infected seed tubers. This study was undertaken to determine the relative importance of these sources of infection in seed potato production in Scotland. The transmission of PMTV from tested seed tubers to daughter plants was examined over 2 years and six cultivars. The development of foliar symptoms varied with year and cultivar. Infection of daughter tubers derived from PMTV-infected seed tubers was more prevalent on plants affected by foliar symptoms than those without symptoms. The rate of transmission of PMTV from infected seed tubers to daughter tubers ranged from 18 to 54%. Transmission was affected by cultivar and by origin of seed tubers used for a cultivar, but not by a cultivar's sensitivity to PMTV infection. The incidence of PMTV in daughter tubers of cv. Cara grown from seed potatoes from one source (common origin) by more than 25 seed producers was examined over two successive generations. The incidence of PMTV in daughter tubers was not correlated with that in the seed tubers but appeared to be strongly associated with soil inoculum. The incidence of PMTV was correlated with powdery scab in those crops in which both were present. There was some evidence from soil tests conducted in 2006 using a tomato bait plant and real-time RT-PCR that planting PMTV-infected seed potatoes could increase the risk of introducing the virus into land not infested by PMTV.

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