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Incidence of Viruses Infecting Sweetpotato in Tanzania

September 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  9
Pages  916 - 920

Fred Tairo and Alois Kullaya , Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute, P.O. Box 6226, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania ; and Jari P. T. Valkonen , Department of Plant Biology and Forest Genetics, Box 7080, SLU, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden, and Department of Applied Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland

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Accepted for publication 14 April 2004.

A survey for incidence of sweetpotato viruses was carried out in the three sweetpotato-producing districts (Bukoba, Misungwi, and Tarime) in the Lake Victoria basin and in the Indian Ocean coastal zone (Bagamoya on the mainland and Unguja on Zanzibar Island) in Tanzania in March and April 2003. A total of 170 plants from 43 sweetpotato fields were collected, established in an insect-proof screenhouse, and tested for viruses by nitrocellulose membrane enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (NCM-ELISA). Scions from symptomless plants were grafted onto Ipomoea setosa, a nearly universal indicator plant for sweetpotato viruses, and leaves were tested by NCM-ELISA. Results were confirmed in several seropositive plants by cloning and partial sequencing of the viruses. Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPMFV), Sweet potato mild mottle virus, Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV), and Sweet potato chlorotic fleck virus were detected serologically in single or mixed infections. Frequencies of occurrence of these viruses as determined by serological detection showed SPMFV to be the most prevalent virus in all the surveyed districts. Our study revealed a higher incidence and diversity of viruses in the Lake Victoria basin compared with the Indian Ocean coastal area. These results represent the first survey for sweetpotato viruses in Tanzania using accurate detection methods.

Additional keywords: cultural practices, Ipomoea batatas, RT-PCR

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society