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Christopher S. Cramer, Narinder Singh, Neel Kamal, and Hanu R. Pappu

Iris yellow spot is an economically important disease of onion that reduces bulb size and yield and is difficult to control. The disease is spread by Thrips tabaci (onion thrips) and disease symptoms are exacerbated by hot, dry climatic conditions that also favor rapid thrips multiplication and make control programs less effective. Currently, no onion cultivar is resistant to the disease and/or thrips. Certain onion foliar characteristics have shown nonpreferential feeding activity by thrips and may be the first step in developing Iris yellow spot (IYS)-tolerant onion cultivars. Seventy-five onion PI accessions from the U.S. germplasm collection were evaluated for leaf color, waxiness (bloom), and axil pattern; thrips number per plant; and IYS disease severity under conditions that favored thrips and disease buildup. Plants of PI 289689 were less attractive to thrips and had a lower number of thrips per plant than plants of most other accessions. These plants were rated as having light green to green-colored foliage and a relatively low amount of epicuticular leaf wax. Plants of PIs 239633 and 546192 generally exhibited less severe IYS disease symptoms than those of other accessions. Individual plants, that exhibited less leaf area exhibiting IYS disease symptoms, were selected at bulb maturity from 22 different accessions with PI 546140 producing the largest number of selected bulbs. Physiological plant development, environmental conditions, and tolerance to plant stress may influence the degree of disease symptom expression. Further work that examines the role of plant maturity and host plant tolerance to stress with respect to disease expression is needed.

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Sahar Eid, Keri L. Druffel, Dayle E. Saar, and Hanu R. Pappu

Dahlia mosaic is a serious disease affecting dahlias. In addition to the Dahlia mosaic virus (DMV) reported previously, we characterized two putative new caulimoviruses, tentatively designated as DMV-D10 and Dahlia common mosaic virus (DCMV), from dahlia. To better understand their relative incidence in dahlia, a total of 213 samples were collected during 2007 and 2008 from several varieties of cultivated dahlia (D. variabilis) in the United States. Samples were tested for the three caulimoviruses using virus-specific primers in a polymerase chain reaction. Amplicons were cloned and sequenced to confirm the infection of dahlia with these viruses. Results showed that DMV-D10 was the most prevalent (94%) followed by DCMV (48.5%) and DMV (23%). Mixed infections were common and viruses were detected irrespective of symptom expression at the time of sampling. Two percent of the samples were not infected by any of the three tested caulimoviruses. Results suggest that caulimovirus infections are widespread in dahlia and highlight the need for testing and production of virus-free material to reduce their spread.

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Juan C. Díaz-Pérez, K. Dean Batal, Darbie Granberry, Denne Bertrand, David Giddings, and Hanu Pappu

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is a serious constraint to tomato production worldwide. Losses are significant because the disease is difficult to control and most of the commercially available tomato cultivars are susceptible to TSWV. This study was intended to provide information that could be used to design more appropriate disease management strategies. The objective was to determine the relationship of tomato plant growth and fruit yield with the time of TSWV symptom appearance. Experiments were carried out during Spring 1999 and 2000, using drip irrigation and plastic film mulched beds with black plastic mulch alone (1999) or different colored mulches (2000). The mulches used were black, black-on-silver, gray-on-black, red, silver-on-black, silver (painted) and white-on-black, and bare soil. The 1999 experiment included a single TSWV-susceptible cultivar (Florida-47), while the 2000-experiment included two TSWV-susceptible (Florida-91 and Sun Chaser) and one TSWV-resistant cultivars (BHN-444). Colored mulches and tomato cultivars affected the time between transplanting and appearance of first symptoms of TSWV. For all tomato cultivars, vegetative top fresh weight (FW), fruit number and total fruit yield increased linearly with the time the plants remained free from TSWV symptoms. Marketable fruit yield also increased as the time from transplanting to the first appearance of symptoms increased. When data for cultivars were pooled, vegetative top FW and total fruit yield were reduced by 2.1% and 2.3%, respectively, for each day prior to harvesting that plants showed TSWV symptoms.