Viruses of cucurbit crops in the Mediterranean region: an ever-changing picture

Adv Virus Res. 2012;84:67-126. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394314-9.00003-8.


Cucurbit crops may be affected by at least 28 different viruses in the Mediterranean basin. Some of these viruses are widely distributed and cause severe yield losses while others are restricted to limited areas or specific crops, and have only a negligible economic impact. A striking feature of cucurbit viruses in the Mediterranean basin is their always increasing diversity. Indeed, new viruses are regularly isolated and over the past 35 years one "new" cucurbit virus has been reported on average every 2 years. Among these "new" viruses some were already reported in other parts of the world, but others such as Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV), one of the most severe cucurbit viruses and Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV), one of the most prevalent cucurbit viruses, were first described in the Mediterranean area. Why this region may be a potential "hot-spot" for cucurbit virus diversity is not fully known. This could be related to the diversity of cropping practices, of cultivar types but also to the important commercial exchanges that always prevailed in this part of the world. This chapter describes the major cucurbit viruses occurring in the Mediterranean basin, discusses factors involved in their emergence and presents options for developing sustainable control strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Cucurbita / virology*
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Plant Diseases / virology*
  • Plant Viruses / pathogenicity*