Brassica carinata L. Braun (Ethiopian mustard) is an annual oil seed crop currently being evaluated for its potential use as a source of biofuel. Due to its high content of erucic acid, it provides a biodegradable non-fossil fuel feedstock that has many applications ranging from biofuels to other industrial uses such as polymers, waxes, and surfactants. Moreover, high glucosinolate content adds the scope of B. carinata being used as a bio-fumigant. B. carinata is amenable to low input agriculture and has great economic potential to be used as a winter crop, especially in the southeastern United States. Virus-like leaf symptoms including mosaic, ringspot, mottling, and puckering were observed on B. carinata (cvs. 080814 EM and 080880 EM) in field trials at Quincy, FL, during spring 2013, with disease incidence of >80%. A more extensive survey of the same field location indicated that mosaic symptoms were the most common. Viral inclusion assays (1) of leaves with a range of symptoms indicated the presence of potyvirus-like inclusion bodies. Total RNA extracts (RNeasy Plant Mini Kit, Qiagen Inc., Valencia, CA) from six symptomatic samples and one non-symptomatic B. carinata sample were subjected to reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assays using SuperScript III One-Step RT-PCR System (Invitrogen, Life Technologies, NY), and two sets of potyvirus-specific degenerate primers MJ1-F and MJ2-R (2) and NIb2F and NIb3R (3), targeting the core region of the CP and NIb, respectively. The RT-PCR assays using the CP and NIb specific primers produced amplicons of 327 bp and 350 bp, respectively, only in the symptomatic leaf samples. The obtained amplicons were gel-eluted and sequenced directly (GenBank Accession Nos. KC899803 to KC899808 for CP and KC899809 to KC899813 for NIb). BLAST analysis of these sequences revealed that they came from Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV). Pairwise comparisons of the CP (327 bp) and NIb (350 bp) segments revealed 98 to 99% and 96 to 98% nucleotide identities, respectively, with corresponding sequences of TuMV isolates. These results revealed the association of TuMV with symptomatic B. carinata leaf samples. Although TuMV has been reported from B. carinata in Zambia (4), this is the first report of its occurrence on B. carinata in the United States. Considering the importance of B. carinata as a biofuel source, this report underscores the need for developing effective virus management strategies for the crop.
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