Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) is cultivated mainly in the central region of the Departamento de San Pedro in Paraguay from October to February and the seed are exported to Asia. The crop is grown on 100,000 ha annually and Escoba blanca is the most common cultivar. The crop plays an important socioeconomical role since it is cultivated mostly by small growers. A disease characterized by yellowing and curling down leaves and shortening of the internodes has been observed in almost all sesame-growing areas. It is referred to locally as “ka'are” because the affected sesame plant resembles Chenopodium ambrosioides L. This disease occurred occasionally and was of marginal importance prior to 2005, but during the last five growing seasons the disease incidence has increased substantially, with some growers losing the entire crop. To determine the causal agent, symptomatic leaf samples were collected from five commercial fields near Colonia San Pedro and Choré, Departamento San Pedro in December 2009. Preliminary transmission electron microscopy (TEM; Zeiss EM900) of extracts from symptomatic leaves revealed the presence of elongated flexible particles resembling a potyvirus. Mechanical transmission assays resulted in chlorotic local lesions on C. quinoa and C. amaranticolor, mosaic on Vigna unguiculata and Nicotiana benthamiana, and symptoms on sesame that are similar to those observed in the field. The disease could also be reproduced in sesame by aphid (Myzus persicae) transmission in a nonpersistent manner. TEM examination of leaf sections of these naturally or experimentally infected plants showed the presence of the type I cylindrical inclusions and masses of filamentous particles. Leaf extracts of naturally or experimentally infected sesame and test plants were positive for Cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus (CABMV) on the basis of plate-trapped antigen (PTA)-ELISA. CABMV as the causal agent of “ka'are” disease of sesame in Paraguay was further confirmed by analyzing part of the nucleotide sequence of CABMV coat protein and 3′ nontranslated region that were obtained directly from reverse transcription-PCR product amplified with PV1-antisense primer (5′-gatttaggtgacactatagt17-3′) and WCIEN-sense primer (5′-atggtttggtgyatygaraat-3′) (1,2). Comparisons of the 676-bp nucleotide sequence of two sesame virus isolates (GenBank Accession Nos. HQ336402 and HQ336403) revealed 92% identity with the corresponding nucleotide sequence of CABMV available in the GenBank (Accession No. AF348210). Thus, all the assays indicated that the “ka'are” disease of sesame in Paraguay is caused by an isolate of CABMV. Several cowpea fields, nearby sesame diseased crops, also contained plants exhibiting mosaic symptoms. Transmission assays, electron microscopy, PTA-ELISA, and nucleotide sequence analysis indicated that they were also infected by CABMV and may play an important role in the epidemiology of this disease on sesame. CABMV isolates from passion fruit and cowpea from Brazil were mechanically transmitted to sesame but induced milder symptoms. CABMV-infected sesame was described in the United States (3), but to our knowledge, this is the first report of a severe disease on sesame caused by this virus in Paraguay.
References: (1) A. Gibbs and A. Mackenzie. J. Virol. Methods 63:9, 1997. (2) L. D. C. Mota et al. Plant Pathol. 53:368, 2004. (3) H. R. Pappu et al. Arch. Virol. 142:1919, 1997.
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