Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a vegetatively propagated tropical root crop. Viral infections have been identified as an important biotic component limiting cassava production (2). To survey for virus diseases, symptomatic samples of cassava plants were collected from the Venezuelan cassava production states Amazonas, Aragua, Barinas, Cojedes, Monagas, and Portuguesa. Mechanical transmissions to a differential host (Chenopodium quinoa) and a previously described double antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) procedure (3) were used to test for the presence of Cassava virus X (CsVX). The DAS-ELISA procedure used gamma globulin diluted 1/2,000, conjugate diluted 1/2,000, and leaf sap extracts diluted 1/100 (1). CsVX and frog skin disease (detected graft inoculation tests with cultivar Secundina and electron microscopy) were detected in mixed infections in plants collected in Barinas. CsVX was not detected in any of the plants collected in the other surveyed areas. The low incidence of the virus (11.43%; 4 of 35 samples) suggests that CsVX has been introduced only recently via infected planting stock. Transmission of the virus is 100% when infected cuttings are used as propagation material. CsVX caused no symptoms on any of the cultivars examined in the field, and the occurrence of symptomless CsVX in Venezuela may result from the inadvertent use of cuttings from virus-infected plants. This is the first report of CsVX in cassava in Venezuela.
References: (1) B. L. Nolt et al. Ann. Appl. Biol. 118:105, 1991. (2) B. L. Nolt et al. Plant Pathol. 41:348, 1992. (3) A. C. Velasco et al. 1994. Prog. Virol. Yuca, CIAT, Cali, Colombia.