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How to recognize, treat, and control ToBRFV (Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus)

Published on 2 March 2020 at 11:30

How to recognize, treat, and control ToBRFV (Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus)

ToBRFV (Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus)

ToBRFV belongs to the genus of the Tobamoviruses which also includes tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) and tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The virus spreads mechanically through people and tools, but also through bumblebees, birds and infected fruits. While most of the tomato varieties have built up resistance against Tobamoviruses (such as TMV and ToMV), research has shown that the virus breaks through the resistance (Tm-2 and TM-2 2(superscript)) that most tomato varieties have against Tobamoviruses. 

Where was the virus found? 

ToBRFV was first found in Jordan in 2016, after which it was also found in Israel, Germany, Mexico, United States (California) and recently in Italy (Sicily). 

Which crops are susceptible to the virus? 

Capsicum species, such as (hot) peppers, have components that the virus needs to grow (propagate). So far it is not known whether pepper varieties are resistant to ToBRFV. Resistant varieties are not affected by the virus. According to the literature, in a limited number of non-commercial paprika varieties, the Tobamo resistances can be broken under certain circumstances.

Recognize ToBRFV

The virus is mainly recognized by the mosaic pattern it leaves on the youngest leaves in the head and shoots and on the fruit of the tomato plant. The fruit get dots and yellow spots or there is deformation of the fruit and the leaf. It can also happen that the fruit turns brown and necrotic stripes appear on the stem and that stems and sepals dry out. In some cases you can see narrowed leaves.
A big risk with this virus is that the damage symptoms of ToBRFV resembles the image of Pepino mosaic and no measures are taken. This could lead to major damage; the virus spreads easily through the crop, productivity decreases and the fruit is no longer suitable for sale.

How long can the virus survive? 

It is said that the virus can survive for a long time in water, seeds, soil, material and plant material. How long ToBRFV can survive is not known.

Can you demonstrate the presence of the virus?

It can be demonstrated whether a virus is present in the seed by using the international validated ISHI (International Seed Health Initiative) measurement method. When pre-screening with ELISA, it is important that the correct antibody is used. This can be done at various laboratories and research institutes. 

ToBRFV prevention

Because ToBRFV is easily spread mechanically, a strict hygiene plan is of great importance. The general hygiene within the company must be taken into account, so that contamination of the virus is prevented, and the spread by people and materials are limited. Also make sure that everyone who visits the company - both employees and other visitors - are aware of the hygiene measures and ensure strict compliance.

Every company will also have to make a thorough inventory of the incoming flows and the dangers of these flows. Think of several growers who work together with the same crates, for example in producer organizations. In this case, working with special harvest barrels and other barrels in which the product is disposed of is a good option. Click on the button below for more information.

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