B. A. Coutts and
R. A. C. Jones, Crop Protection Branch, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, Locked Bag No. 4, Bentley Delivery Centre, Perth, WA 6983, Australia, and School of Plant Biology and Institute of Agriculture, Faculty of Science, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
In glasshouse experiments, two isolates of Potato virus Y ‘O’ strain (PVYO) were transmitted from infected to healthy potato plants by direct contact when leaves were rubbed against each other, when cut surfaces of infected tubers were rubbed onto leaves, and to a limited extent, when blades contaminated with infective sap were used to cut healthy potato tubers. However, no tuber-to-tuber transmission occurred when blades were used to cut healthy tubers after cutting infected tubers. When leaf sap from potato plants infected with two PVYO isolates was kept at room temperature, it was highly infective for 6 to 7 h and remained infectious for up to 28 h. Also, when sap from infected leaves with one isolate was applied to five surfaces (cotton, hessian, metal, rubber vehicle tire, and wood) and left to dry for up to 24 h before each surface was rubbed onto healthy tobacco plants, PVYO remained infective for 24 h on tire and metal, 6 h on cotton and hessian, and 3 h on wood. The effectiveness of disinfectants at inactivating this isolate was evaluated by adding them to sap from infected leaves which was then rubbed onto healthy tobacco plants. None of the plants became infected when bleach (42 g/liter sodium hypochlorite, diluted 1:4) or Virkon-S (potassium peroxymonosulfate 50% wt/wt, diluted to 1%) was used. A trace of infection remained after using nonfat milk powder (20% wt/vol). PVY infection sources were studied in 2011–2012 in the main potato growing regions of southwest Australia. In tests on >17,000 potato leaf samples, PVY was detected at low levels in seed (4/155) and ware (6/51) crops. It was also detected in volunteer potatoes from a site with a previous history of PVY infection in a seed crop. None of the 15 weed species tested were PVY infected. Plants of Solanum nigrum were symptomlessly infected with PVYO after sap inoculation, and no seed transmission was detected (>2,500 seeds). This study demonstrates PVYO can be transmitted by contact and highlights the need to include removal of volunteer potatoes and other on-farm hygiene practices (decontaminating tools, machinery, clothing, etc.) in integrated disease management strategies for PVY in potato crops.