During a routine screening of ornamentals by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in Belgium, a pospiviroid was detected in a symptomless Brugmansia sp. (angel's trumpets) coming from the Netherlands. Detection was performed on a leaf sample by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR, first using universal pospiviroid primer pair (2) VIR1/VIR2 and subsequently with semispecific primer pair (3) CEVd-FW/RE, to amplify the whole viroid genome. Amplicons of expected sizes (260 and 360 bp, respectively) were detected and the sequencing of the CEVd-FW/RE amplicon (GenBank Accession No. FN994891) revealed that the viroid from a Brugmansia sp. was a Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd) showing 99.7% similarity with the Sj1 isolate found in Solanum jasminoides (GenBank Accession No. AM777161). Diluted-sap inoculation attempts on tomato from lyophilized material were unsuccessful in agreement with previous results obtained with a Brugmansia isolate of Potato spindle tuber viroid (4). TASVd is mentioned on the alert list of EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization) because of the heavy yield losses it can induce in tomato, its asymptomatic presence on different ornamental plants (S. jasminoides, Lycianthes rantonnetii, and Streptosolen jamesonii), and its capacity to be transmitted by contact to different Solanaceae as well as by bumble bees to tomato (1). The contaminated plants found in the survey by FASFC have been destroyed to avoid accidental transmission to potato and tomato. To our knowledge, this is the first report of TASVd in a Brugmansia sp.
References: (1) Y. Antignus et al. Plant Dis. 91:47, 2007. (2) R. A. Mumford et al. EPPO Bulletin 30:431, 2000. (3) N. Önelge. Turk. J. Agric. For. 21:419, 1997. (4) J. Th. J. Verhoeven. Ph.D. thesis. Wageningen University, Netherlands, 2010.