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Natural Wild Hosts of Sweet potato feathery mottle virus Show Spatial Differences in Virus Incidence and Virus-Like Diseases in Uganda

June 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  6
Pages  640 - 652

A. K. Tugume, S. B. Mukasa, and J. P. T. Valkonen

First author: Department of Applied Biology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland, and Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062 Kampala, Uganda; second author: Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture Makerere University, Uganda; and third author: Department of Applied Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland.

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Accepted for publication 24 January 2008.

Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV, genus Potyvirus) is globally the most common pathogen of sweetpotato. An East African strain of SPFMV incites the severe ‘sweetpotato virus disease’ in plants co-infected with Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus and threatens subsistence sweetpotato production in East Africa; however, little is known about its natural hosts and ecology. In all, 2,864 wild plants growing in sweetpotato fields or in their close proximity in Uganda were observed for virus-like symptoms and tested for SPFMV in two surveys (2004 and 2007). SPFMV was detected at different incidence in 22 Ipomoea spp., Hewittia sublobata, and Lepistemon owariensis, of which 19 species are new hosts for SPFMV. Among the SPFMV-positive plants, ≈60% displayed virus-like symptoms. Although SPFMV incidence was similar in annual and perennial species, virus-like diseases were more common in annuals than perennials. Virus-like diseases and SPFMV were more common in the eastern agroecological zone than the western, central, and northern zones, which contrasted with known incidence of SPFMV in sweetpotato crops. The data on a large number of new natural hosts of SPFMV detected in this study provide novel insights into the ecology of SPFMV in East Africa.

Additional keywords:Convolvulaceae, diversity, epidemiology, Ipomoea batatas, Potyviridae.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society