First report of Tomatospotted wilt virus in leek (Allium porrum) in the United States
omato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is a member of the family Bunyaviridae. It has many important crop hosts including tomato, pepper, tobacco, peanut, and onion. In Georgia, Vidalia onions (Allium cepa), a close relative of leek, can be infected by TSWV and Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV), which is another thrips-vectored tospovirus (2). For this reason, samples of leek transplants with virus-like symptoms in one field at the border of Georgia and Florida were tested for the presence of TSWV and IYSV. The transplants had been grown from seed in a greenhouse at the same location. The sampled plants exhibited extended bleaching of leaf tips and necrotic lesions. These symptoms were also seen on onion plants infected with TSWV and IYSV. The only natural infections of leek with IYSV have been reported thus far only from Reunion Island (4) and Slovenia (1), but to our knowledge, TSWV has not been reported as a pathogen of leek. Green tissue near the necrotic lesions and bleached tips of one symptomatic leaf per plant was sampled and analyzed using a double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) (Agdia, Inc., Elkhart, IN). Of 90 plants tested, eight were positive for TSWV and none were positive for IYSV. Leek samples testing positive using ELISA were blotted onto FTA cards (Whatman Inc., Brentford, UK) to bind viral RNA for preservation and then processed according to the manufacturer's protocol. Punch-outs from the FTA cards were used for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with the TSWV-specific forward primer (5′-TTAAGCAAGTTCTGTGAG-3′) and reverse primer (5′-ATGTCTAAGGTTAAGCTC-3′) (3) to confirm the identity of TSWV. The primers are specific to the viral nucleocapsid gene. An amplicon of the expected size (774 bp) was produced from TSWV ELISA-positive leek plants, but not from healthy controls. TSWV has been found in many plants worldwide, but to our knowledge this is the first report of TSWV infecting leek. The effect that TSWV has on leek production is currently unknown.
Nischwitz, C., Mullis S.W., Gitaitis, R.D. Csinos, A.S. and Olson, S.M. 2006. First report of Tomato spotted wilt virus in leek (Allium porrum) in the United States. Plant Disease 90:525