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Closterovirus Infection and Mealybug Exposure Are Necessary for the Development of Mealybug Wilt of Pineapple Disease

September 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  9
Pages  928 - 935

D. M. Sether and J. S. Hu

University of Hawaii at Manoa, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, Honolulu 96822

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Accepted for publication 2 April 2002.

The roles of Pineapple mealybug wilt-associated viruses (PMWaVs) and mealybug (Dysmicoccus spp.) feeding in the etiology of mealybug wilt of pineapple (MWP) were evaluated. Container-grown pineapple (Ananas comosus) plants from five commercially grown Hawaiian proprietary selections and a field study utilizing a randomized complete block design were used to test four treatments for induction of MWP: PMWaV-1-free and PMWaV-1-infected plants maintained mealybug-free, and PMWaV-1-free and PMWaV-1-infected plants that received monthly applications of nonviruliferous mealybugs. A second PMWaV, PMWaV-2, was identified in some of the test plants during the course of these studies and was shown to be an integral factor in MWP etiology. Typical MWP symptoms developed only in plants infected with PMWaV-2 and exposed to mealybugs. MWP did not develop in PMWaV-1-free or PMWaV-1-infected plants that were exposed to mealybugs, or in mealy-bug-free plants infected with PMWaV-1, PMWaV-2, or both viruses. Plants from all five Hawaiian proprietary selections developed MWP when PMWaV-2 infected plants were exposed to mealybug feeding. A PMWaV-2-specific monoclonal antibody was produced that decorated the particles in immunosorbent electron microscopy and detected the virus in tissue blot immunoassays. PMWaV-2 was acquired and transmitted by pink and gray pineapple mealybugs (Dysmicoccus spp.) to pineapple plants, and these plants subsequently developed MWP symptoms while sustaining mealybug populations.

Additional keywords: badnavirus, D. brevipes, D. neobrevipes, insect transmission, pineapple closterovirus, virus vector.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society