Istituto di Fitovirologia Applicata, CNR, Strada delle Cacce 73, 10135 Torino, Italy
Dip. Protezione Piante e Microbiologia Applicata, Università degli Studi, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy
Dip. Scienze e Tecnologie Fitosanitarie, Università degli Studi di Catania, Via Valdisavoia 5, 95123 Catania, Italy
During winter 2000-2001, an unusual disease of tomato was observed in some greenhouses in Sardinia, Sicily, and Apulia, in southern Italy. Plants were chlorotic and reduced in size, expanded leaves showed interveinal yellowing, and older leaves developed interveinal reddish-bronze necrosis and downward rolling. The symptoms resembled those recently reported from Portugal (1) as induced by Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV) (family Closteroviridae, genus Crinivirus), a whitefly-transmitted virus new to Europe. Symptomatic leaf tissues were extracted and analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction as described by Louro et al.(1). The 439-bp ToCV-specific DNA fragment was amplified in samples collected from 6 of 14 greenhouses in Sardinia, 2 of 5 greenhouses in Sicily, and 1 of 1 greenhouse in Apulia. The sequence of the fragment obtained from a Sicilian isolate (GenBank Accession No. AY048854) showed more than 99% identity to ToCV isolates (Accession Nos. AF024630 and AF234029) from the United States and Portugal, respectively. Infestations of Trialeurodes vaporariorum and Bemisia tabaci have been reported in autumn. To our knowledge, this is the first report of ToCV in Italy. Although we found the virus in three regions of the country, its distribution is likely to be wider, since the symptoms can be mistaken for those of a physiological disorder or of Tomato infectious chlorosis virus, another crinivirus infecting tomato.
Reference: (1) Louro et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 106:589, 2000.