Lablab bean (Lablab purpureus L. Sweet) is a widely cultivated, highly drought tolerant legume vegetable crop grown in diverse environmental conditions worldwide. In India and elsewhere, the young pods are consumed as a fresh vegetable and mature dry seeds are important in the diet of people preferring vegetarian food (2). Small-holding farmers use their own saved seeds for sowing. During October 2008, L. purpureus exhibiting symptoms of stunting, mosaic, vein-banding, vein-clearing, mottling, and blisters suggestive of a viral infection were observed in and around the Mysore District of Karnataka State, India. Incidence of the disease ranged from 1 to 10% in different fields. Symptomatic leaves were collected from fields of Daripura Village, Mysore District, Karnataka. Viruses that were tested by indirect ELISA included Cucumber mosaic virus, Tobacco mosaic virus, Cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus, Cowpea mosaic virus, Cowpea mottle virus, Southern bean mosaic virus, and Bean common mosaic virus (BCMV). Results of the ELISA tests indicated that all 28 samples collected from different fields were infected with BCMV. Examination of tissue sap from symptomatic plants by electron microscopy revealed flexuous rod-shaped particles (~750 nm long). An immunocapture-reverse transcription (IC-RT)-PCR assay employing degenerate primers for amplifying partial coat protein (CP) and 3′-UTR of potyviruses (1) yielded a ~700-bp product that was cloned and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. HM776637). Sequence identity at the nucleotide level was 96% with BCMV strain NL-7n (GenBank Accession No. GQ456169) infecting common bean from Himachal Pradesh, India. RT-PCR was performed with a virus-specific primer pair (FW3-5′-GCAGTAGCACAGATGAAGGCA-3′: Rv3-5′-GGTTCTTCCGGCTTACTCATAAACAT-3′) designed to amplify 340 bp, the partial coat protein gene of BCMV. All symptomatic L. purpureus field samples and screenhouse-grown seedlings manually inoculated with infected sap were positive for BCMV infection in RT-PCR assay employing specific primers with amplification of a 340-bp product. To our knowledge, this is the first report of BCMV infecting L. purpureus in India. BCMV has also been reported in L. purpureus in Uganda (4) and Nigeria (3). Plants that were confirmed by ELISA to be infected were tagged, and from these plants, seeds were collected and pooled. Four hundred seeds were germinated and a rate of 6.5% seed transmission was determined based on symptoms, ELISA, and PCR. From December 2008 to December 2010, different L. purpureus plantings were monitored for BCMV incidence. Plants infected at different growth stages were tagged and pods were harvested from infected and healthy plants. Data from at least 100 BCMV-infected L. purpureus plants from each of 12 different fields were recorded for yield loss analysis. In terms of number of pods per plant, number of seeds per pod, and seed weight, an average as much as 40% yield loss was recorded from 12 different fields. Because seeds collected from these plants are used for subsequent plantings, these plants may act as virus reservoirs or foci of infection.
References: (1) A. S. Langeveld et al. J. Gen. Virol. 72:1531, 1991. (2) M. N. Maruthi et al. Ann. Appl. Biol. 149:187, 2006. (3) O. O. Odedara et al. J. Gen. Virol. 74:322, 2008. (4) T. N. Sengooba et al. Plant Pathol. 46:95, 1997.
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