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