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Maruthi, M.N.; Jeremiah, C. S.; Mohammed, I. U.; Legg, J. P.
Publisher: The American Phytopathological Society
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) is arguably the most dangerous current threat to cassava, which is Africa’s most important food security crop. CBSD is caused by two species of cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs). The role of cassava whiteflies and farmer practices in the spread CBSVs was investigated in a set of field- and laboratory-based experiments. Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) was acquired and transmitted by Bemisia tabaci quickly (5-10 min each for virus acquisition and inoculation), and the virus was retained for up to 48 h when feeding on cassava. Maximum mean virus transmission (60%) was achieved using 20-25 viruliferous whiteflies per plant that were given acquisition and inoculation periods of 24 h each. Experiments mimicking the agronomic practices, such as cassava leaf picking, or the use of contaminated tools for making cassava stem cuttings did not show the transmission of CBSV. Screenhouse and field experiments in Tanzania showed that the maximum spread of CBSVs occurred next to spreader rows, and that the rate of spread decreased with increasing distance from the source of inoculum. The disease spread systematically in the field up to a maximum of 17 meters in a cropping season. These results collectively indicate that CBSVs are transmitted by B. tabaci semi-persistently, but for only short distances in the field. This implies that spread over longer distances is due to movements of infected stems or cuttings used for planting material. These findings have important implications for developing appropriate management strategies for CBSD.

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