European Journal of Plant Pathology (2010) 127, 207-217

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Ewald Komor, Abdelaleim ElSayed and Axel T. Lehrer (2010)
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus introduction and spread in Hawaiian sugarcane industry: Retrospective epidemiological study of an unnoticed, mostly asymptomatic plant disease
European Journal of Plant Pathology 127 (2), 207-217
Abstract: Yellow leaf (YL) caused by Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV) was first reported as a sugarcane disease in the 1990s, when it had already spread over many parts of the world. The time of introduction into the plantations is unknown. A worldwide screening identified only a few places isolated from cultivar exchange for more than 20 years which appeared SCYLV-free. Control tests with infected cultivars propagated for 12-16 generations by cuttings remained SCYLV-infected, proving that SCYLV is not eliminated by vegetative propagation. De novo infection by SCYLV-vectors in Hawaii occurred only over short distances. To reveal the period when SCYLV was introduced to Hawaii, volunteer sugarcane plants from closed Hawaiian plantations and from previous sites of the Hawaiian Sugarcane Planters´ Association breeding station were tested. The results suggest that SCYLV appeared in the breeding station between 1960 and 1970, whereas the plantations became infested after 1980. Imports in the 1960s obviously introduced the virus to the Hawaiian breeding station from where it spread to susceptible cultivars. Eighty percent of the cultivars, developed between 1973 and 1995, acquired the virus at the breeding station, in some cases within 4 years, indicating the rapid spread of SCYLV in the breeding station. The strain of SCYLV found in a Réunion cultivar in Hawaii, and the differing SCYLV-infection of CP-cultivars which were exported more than 20 years ago, suggested that also Réunion and Florida may still have been SCYLV-free in the 1970s. The study showed that retrospective epidemiology can be conducted on a disease which was unnoticed for more than 20 years.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website


Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
population dynamics/ epidemiology
surveys/sampling/distribution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) Thailand
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) Morocco
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) Guadeloupe
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) U.S.A. (Hawaii)
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) U.S.A. (mid S)
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) U.S.A. (SE)