Spread of Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd) in Greenhouse Tomato Crops Is Associated with Seed Transmission and Bumble Bee Activity

Plant Dis. 2007 Jan;91(1):47-50. doi: 10.1094/PD-91-0047.


Tomato apical stunt viroid (TASVd) has been reported as a devastating pathogen of greenhouse tomato in Israel. This isolate shares 92 and 99% identity with the Ivory Coast type strain and an Indonesian strain, respectively. No information is available regarding the epidemiology of this viroid complex. The present study indicates that TASVd is not transmitted by the aphid Myzus persicae or the whitefly Bemisia tabaci, nor through root infection in infested soil. However, the results indicate that the viroid may be able to invade the embryonic tissues of the seed and transmission rates through seed may reach 80%. Moreover, it was confirmed that bumble bees (Bombus terrastris) can transmit the viroid from infected tomato source plants to healthy plants. Based on these findings, it is suggested that the primary spread of the viroid in greenhouse tomato plants is by seed transmission, and secondary distribution occurs by the pollination activity of bumble bees.