Plant virologist Dr. Wulf Menzel of the Leibniz-Institute DSMZ – German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures in Braunschweig, Germany, and his colleagues from Nuremberg and Freising identified the “cucumber virus” Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV) in Germany for the first time. The scientists recently published their findings in the renowned journal New Disease Report. In the summer of 2019, a large number of Bavarian farmers reported an infection of their cucumbers plants with an unknown disease. In most holdings, the infection rate was 10-50 percent. In some cases up to 90 percent of plants were affected, the crop yield dropped by up to 50 percent. Serologic and molecular tests effectively verified an infection with CABYV.
Cucumber virus: Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus
The cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus was discovered in 1988 in France; it infects cucurbits such as cucumber, courgette, melon or pumpkin. An infection leads to a lack of chlorophyll and leaf thickening and is associated with a potentially massive loss of harvest yields. The virus is transmitted by aphids and commonly found across the Mediterranean region.
Establishment of virus also expected in central Europe
The researchers assume that CABYV will also establish itself outside Mediterranean countries. “In addition, the virus has been spotted in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland”, states Dr. Wulf Menzel of the DSMZ. “As both the aphids that transmit the virus and the natural overwintering hosts such as various weeds are native to our country, it is possible to assume that the virus will threaten cucurbits in Germany and in other central European countries as well by next year.” For growers of cucumber and the like in greenhouse cultivation, the plant virologist therefore recommends taking effective preventive measures, such as preventing aphid infestations.
Menzel W, Maeritz U, Seigner L, 2020. First report of Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus infecting cucurbits in Germany. New Disease Reports 41, 1. http://dx.doi.org/10.5197/j.2044-0588.2020.041.001
Sven-David Müller, Head of Public Relations, Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH
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