Plant Virus Laboratory, Floriculture Division, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur-176 061, Himachal Pradesh, India
Gerbera jamesonii (family Asteraceae) is a popular perennial ornamental cut flower and potted plant with considerable economic importance. In a survey of gerbera grown in floriculture fields at the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur and nearby nurseries, color break symptoms on the petals, asymmetrical ray florets, and deformed flowers were observed during 2003-2004. The virus evoked chlorotic local lesions on Chenopodium album, C. amaranticolor, and C. quinoa, while systemic mosaic was observed on Cucumis sativus, Nicotiana benthamiana, N. clevelandii, N. glutinosa, and N. tabacum cv. Samsun. The virus was transmitted nonpersistently by Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii and was identified as Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with CMV-specific antibodies (Agdia, Elkhart, IN). Polyhedral particles approximately 29 nm were observed with electron microscopy of leaf dips from symptomatic gerbera leaves. Total RNA was isolated from the infected gerbera plants and N. glutinosa by using RNAqueous (Ambion, Austin, TX). CMV-specific primers (1) were used to detect the virus with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction that produced an amplicon predicted size of approximately 540 bp, but the virus was not detected in healthy controls. Sequence alignment of the amplicons (533 bp) utilizing BLAST resulted in 91 to 99% homology with the partial intercistronic region and partial coat protein gene (1042-1574 bp) (gene sequence submitted to EMBL database with Accession no. AJ634532) of CMV RNA3 in subgroup I. To our knowledge, this is the first report of CMV on gerbera in India.
Reference: (1) C. De Blas et al. J. Phytopathol. 141:323, 1994.