New seedborne virus confirmed in Northern California melon fields

12/19/2013 11:47:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

cantaloupeCucumber green mottle mosaic virus can infest cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelons. It is carried on seed and on equipment.For the first time in the United States, cucumber green mottle mosaic virus was confirmed from a sample taken from a melon seed field in Yolo County, Calif.

The pathogen, native to areas of Europe and Asia, belongs to the tobamovirus genus, according to a North American Plant Protection Organization pest alert. Other tobamoviruses include tobacco mosaic virus, pepper mild mottle virus and zucchini green mottle mosaic virus.

Since the find just north of Sacramento, an additional 4-acre plot in nearby Sutter County also tested positive for the virus.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Plant Protection and Quarantine division is working with state and county officials to determine the size of the infestation and the next steps to take.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture and county officials have placed holds on the confirmed fields and are working to identify equipment used in the fields.

PPQ's technical working group has developed protocols to minimize the risk from this disease, including sanitation and guidelines for future farming in the infected areas.

CGMMV, a seedborne disease, affects cucumbers and melons. In addition to seed, it can be spread by mechanical means.

In severe infestations, it can cause about a 15 percent crop loss.

For more information, download this information sheet from the Florida Division of Plant Industry.

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