A new disorder of fruit has been observed on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) in Florida. The disorder, termed irregular ripening, was associated with field populations of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and is characterized by incomplete ripening of longitudinal sections of fruit. An increase in internal white tissue also was associated with whitefly populations. In field cage studies, fruit on tomato plants not infested with the sweetpotato whitefly exhibited slight or no irregular ripening, whereas fruit from infested plants did. Fruit from plants on which a whitefly infestation had been controlled before the appearance of external symptoms exhibited reduced symptoms compared to fruit from plants on which an infestation was uncontrolled.
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