Perspective on strategies for controlling the spread of Plum pox virus, causal agent of sharka/plum pox disease
Plum pox virus (PPV), the causal agent of sharka/plum pox disease, is considered the most harmful virus that threatens safe and successful cultivation of stone fruits (Prunus spp.; almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum). Cambra et al. (2006) estimated that financial losses associated with sharka disease globally were approximately 3.6 billion (Bn) Euros for apricot for the preceding 30 years, 5.4 Bn Euros for plum for the preceding 30 years, and 0.58 Bn Euros for peach for the preceding 20 years. A considerable amount of research has been carried out on characterizing PPV, hence its identification as one of the top 10 plant viruses in molecular plant pathology (Scholthof et al., 2011). In spite of, and maybe because of, these research activities, the virus has been detected in almost every country where any significant commercial stone-fruit cultivation occurs, with the exception perhaps of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Are very strict plant quarantine programs or remoteness the keys to preventing the spread of PPV? Strategies for effectively controlling the spread of PPV must include simple, accurate and effective diagnostics (with PPV-appropriate sampling) that should be part of any quarantine program, survey activity, or phytosanitary certification program. Accurate information about the spread of PPV, better understanding of the various pathways for movement of the virus and taking the necessary steps to obstruct or remove these pathways are essential for preventing further spread of this very harmful virus.
James, D. 2017. Perspective on strategies for controlling the spread of Plum pox virus, causal agent of sharka/plum pox disease. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1163:129-136
PPV, control, education, quarantine, certification, diagnostics, survey, transmission pathways, sentinel trees