A SURVEY OF VIRUSES IN BLACKBERRY NURSERY STOCK

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  • 1 1Department of Horticulture, 316 Plant Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • 2 2Department of Plant Pathology, 217 Plant Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

In 2004, two surveys were conducted to assess the presence of four viruses in marketable blackberry nursery stock. The U.S. survey consisted of dormant nursery stock received from 11 nurseries in the southern, southeastern, midwestern, northeastern, and Pacific northwestern regions of the U.S. The second survey was focused only on Arkansas licensed propagating nurseries with samples collected during the growing season. Samples were tested using reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of Blackberry yellow vein associated virus (BYVaV), Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV), Tomato ringspot virus (ToRSV), and Tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV). Of the total samples in the U.S. survey, there were 9% that tested positive for virus infection. Ninety percent of the positives were infected with BYVaV. Forty percent of these were detected in `Triple Crown', 40% in `Chickasaw', and 20% in `Apache'. The remaining 9% of the total positive virus samples were infected with TRSV and 100% of these were in `Triple Crown'. No viruses were found on any samples of `Chester Thornless'. In the Arkansas survey, 11% of the total samples tested positive for virus. Of these, 50% were infected with BYVaV.

The percent infected with BYVaV was distributed evenly among `Apache', `Chickasaw', and `Kiowa'. The other 50% of the infected samples were positive for TRSV (67% `Apache', 33% `Chickasaw'). There was one mixed infection of BYVaV and TRSV detected in `Apache'. These findings indicate that BYVaV is the most prevalent virus found in nursery stock and that the occurrence of BYVaV is not restricted to a single region or cultivar.

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