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Review article2010Peer reviewed

Detection, distribution and control of Potato mop-top virus, a soil-borne virus, in northern Europe

Santala, J.; Samuilova, O.; Hannukkala, A.; Latvala, S.; Kortemaa, H.; Beuch, U.; Kvarnheden, A.; Persson, P.; Topp, K.; Orstad, K.; Spetz, C.; Nielsen, S. L.; Kirk, H. G.; Budziszewska, M.; Wieczorek, P.; Obrepalska-Steplowska, A.; Pospieszny, H.; Kryszczuk, A.; Sztangret-Wisniewska, J.; Yin, Z.;
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Potato mop-top virus (PMTV; genus Pomovirus; family Virgaviridae) is transmitted by the soil-borne Spongospora subterranea f.sp. subterranea, a protoctist that causes powdery scab on potato. PMTV is distributed widely in the potato growing areas in South and North America, Japan and northwestern Europe. This article reviews the current knowledge on detection, distribution and control of PMTV with focus on the Baltic Sea region. Since the 1980s, PMTV has caused great economic losses to potato production in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland), but its occurrence in other countries of the Baltic Sea region remained unknown. To fill this knowledge gap, harmonised sampling and virus detection procedures including bioassays and serological and molecular methods were employed by 21 research institutions to detect PMTV in potato tubers and soil samples in 2005-2008. Potato growing areas were widely contaminated with PMTV in the Nordic countries. Only the main seed potato production area in northern Sweden and the High Grade seed potato production zone in Finland were negative for PMTV. Intensive and systematic surveys in Poland in 2004-2008 found no evidence of PMTV, except a single PMTV-infected tuber detected in 2008. Surveys in the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and northwestern Russia (Leningrad province) were negative for PMTV, except infection of minitubers in a screenhouse in Latvia in 2005. Varying percentages of tubers expressing spraing symptoms in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Poland were infected with Tobacco rattle virus, and bioassays indicated similar results for Russia. Incidence of symptomless infections with PMTV was high in tubers of many potato cultivars. Here, we discuss the contrasting patterns of distribution of PMTV in the Baltic Sea region, factors playing a role in dispersal and establishment of PMTV in new fields and means for controlling PMTV and its spread to new areas. We emphasise the use of the current virus-specific methods for the detection of PMTV in symptomless potato tubers and the high risks of disseminating PMTV to new fields and areas in viruliferous resting spores of S. subterranea in the soil adhering to seed tubers. PMTV-resistant potato cultivars will provide the only sustainable means for preventing yield losses in the infested fields and the prospects of resistance breeding are summarised.


Baltic Sea region; Potato mop-top virus; soil-borne virus; Solanum tuberosum; Spongospora subterranea; Tobacco rattle virus; virus diagnostics; virus resistance

Published in

Annals of Applied Biology
2010, Volume: 157, number: 2, pages: 163-178