In order to investigate the virus infection rate of commercial freesia cultivars in early February 2013, 19 freesia cultivars showing necrotic purple speckles or streaks on leaves, purple streaks parallel to the midrib, and necrotic speckles on leaves were collected from three different regions (Suwon and Icheon in Gyeonggi Province and Jeonju in North Jeonla Province) and used for virus detection. Nucleic acid extracts were analyzed for detection of major freesia-infecting viruses including Freesia sneak virus (FreSV) by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR with specific primer pairs. The FreSV CP gene was amplified using primer pair FreSV-F (5′-TTAGATAGTGAATCCATAAGCTGC-3′) and FreSV-R (5′-ATGTCTGGAAAATACTCCGTCCAA-3′). The approximately 1.3-kb fragment of the FreSV amplified product was cloned and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. KC771891 to 98). The nucleotide sequences of CP gene of FreSV korean isolates showed 99.2 to 99.8% similarity to other FreSV isolates DQ885455, FJ807730, and GU071089, which are registered in GenBank. FreSV was detected from 71.7% of 138 plants tested while the infection rate of Freesia mosaic virus (FreMV) was 34.8%. Neither Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV) nor Tobacco rattle virus (TRV) were detected from any plants tested in this study. In certain cultivars, such as ‘Bluebau’ (II) and ‘Pretty women,’ most plants planted in the field showed purple streak symptoms on the leaves. In conclusion, FreSV was detected from some symptomatic freesia cultivars showing purple streak or speckles on leaves with or without necrotic spots and necrotic speckles on leaves. FreSV is currently widespread in Korea and some freesia plants were mixed infected with FreMV. FreSV has been occurring in the Netherlands for over 40 years (2). It is a plant virus in the family Ophioviridae and Ophiovirus genus. Once it occurs in freesia plantation fields, eradication is almost impossible because FreSV is transmitted by zoospores of Olpidium brassicae, which is a soilborne root-infecting fungus (3). Resting spores of O. brassicae can remain dormant in the soil and can be infective for 20 years (1). To produce virus-free freesia plants, growers should consider whether or not their fields are contaminated with O. brassicae carrying FreSV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of FreSV in freesia plants in Korea.
References: (1) R. N. Campbell. Can. J. Bot. 63:2288, 1985. (2) Y. Koot et al. Tijdschrift over Plantenziekten 60:157, 1954. (3) H. J. M. van Dorst. Neth. J. Plant Pathol. 81:45, 1975.