Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Bushland 79012
University of Nebraska, Panhandle Research & Extension Center, Scottsbluff 69361
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 68583
A new disease of wheat and corn caused by the High Plains virus (HPV) has been observed in the High Plains region of western United States. HPV is transmitted by the wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella, which is also the vector of wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV). In the field it is extremely difficult to visually differentiate plants infected with WSMV from those with HPV. An indirect protein-A sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PAS-ELISA) and Western blot analysis were used to identify WSMV and HPV. Samples of wheat curl mites were collected from arbitrarily chosen sites from commercial wheat plantings in 1995 and 1996 and used to infest caged wheat plants. After 3 weeks, leaf samples were harvested and assayed. Both Western blot analysis and PAS-ELISA were effective at identifying samples positive for WSMV and HPV, both alone and in mixed infections. Western blot results showed that over the 2 years, 65% of the samples were positive for WSMV, 46% were positive for HPV, and mixed infections were found in 40% of the samples. HPV presence was verified with similar results from field collected plant samples. These levels of virus indicate an unexpectedly high incidence of HPV in wheat curl mite populations in Nebraska.