Cowpea aphid-borne mosaic potyvirus (CABMV) is one of several seed-borne viruses known to limit cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. subsp. unguiculata) production in Africa, Europe, and Asia, but CABMV has not been reported on commercially grown cowpeas in the United States (1). However, a sesame (Sesamum indicum L.)-infecting isolate of CABMV was recently characterized from plants growing near cowpea introduction plots in Georgia (2). In February 1997, we received samples of three seed lots of cowpea cv. Chinese Red that had been harvested in southern Texas during 1996. Approximately 28% of the plants grown from these seed lots expressed strong mosaic symptoms on primary and trifoliate leaves. Viruslike symptoms were reproduced following mechanical transmission to plants of Chinese Red cowpea, Nicotiana benthamiana, and soybean (Glycine max L.) cv. Lee. When Coronet and Pinkeye Purple Hull-BVR cowpeas were inoculated with sap extracts from symptomatic Chinese Red plants, chlorotic lesions developed on inoculated leaves, but only Coronet plants supported symptomless systemic infections. Similarly inoculated plants of Chenopodium quinoa (L.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cvs. Pinto and Black Valentine developed localized chlorotic lesions. In Ouchterlony gel diffusion assays, extracts from symptomatic cowpea plants did not react with antisera to blackeye cowpea mosaic potyvirus (BlCMV), cucumber mosaic cucu-movirus (CMV), southern bean mosaic sobemovirus, cowpea mosaic comovirus, cowpea severe mosaic comovirus, or cowpea chlorotic mottle bromovirus. In the indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, sap extracts from symptomatic plants reacted with antiserum to CABMV, giving OD values at A405 of 0.10 to 0.25, and reacted weakly with antiserum to BlCMV, with OD values at A405 less than 0.035. Extracts from healthy control plants gave OD values at A405 less than 0.010. No positive reactions were obtained with antisera to bean yellow mosaic potyvirus, peanut mottle potyvirus, soybean mosaic potyvirus, or CMV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of CABMV in commercially grown cowpea from the U.S.
References: (1) A. G. Gillaspie et al. Plant Dis. 79:388, 1995. (2) H. R. Pappu et al. Arch. Virol. 142:1, 1997.