M. P. Grisham, USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA 70360;
C. J. Maroon-Lango, USDA, APHIS, PPQ, PHP, RIPPS, Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program, Beltsville, MD 20705; and
A. L. Hale, USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA 70360
Miscanthus is being evaluated as a bioenergy feedstock because of its potentially significant biomass production, perennial habit, and lack of major diseases and pests. It is also a valuable parent in sugarcane breeding programs as a source of cold tolerance. In May 2010, mosaic symptoms were observed on a clone of Miscanthus sinenesis Anderss. maintained at the USDA, ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit. All plants of the Miscanthus clone in our germplasm collection are from vegetative cuttings of the original infected plant and show mosaic symptoms. Leaves from the ratoon of a single plant tested positive in a reverse transcription-PCR with the Potyvirus Group PCR Test (Agdia, Inc., Elkhart, IN) with two primer sets, Poty-F1/Poty-R1 and Poty-F2/Poty-R2. After sequencing the potyvirus amplicons, a BLAST search in GenBank revealed that these sequences had the highest identities (81 and 69%) with Sorghum mosaic virus (SrMV) at the nucleic acid level and a 72 and 95% similarity at the amino acid level. Extracts from the Miscanthus clone prepared by the indirect extraction buffer (Agdia) containing sodium carbonate also tested positive for potyvirus by indirect ELISA with the ‘universal’ potyvirus monoclonal antibody, PTY1. To our knowledge, this is the first report of SrMV on Miscanthus. The only other member of the genus Potyvirus reported on Miscanthus is Sugarcane mosaic virus (1,2). Mosaic caused by SrMV could become an economically important disease of Miscanthus if this crop is grown for bioenergy feedstock on large areas. An SrMV-infected Miscanthus crop could pose a threat to established crops of susceptible sugarcane and sorghum since the virus is transmitted in a nonpersistent manner by several aphids, as well as, contributing to geographic shifts of the pathogen.
References: (1) B. O. Agindotan et al. J. Virol. Methods 169:119, 2010. (2) D.-L. Xu et al. Arch. Virol. 153:1031, 2008.