Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses

January 18, 2007

St. Paul, Minn. (January 18, 2007) -- A tiny whitefly is responsible for spreading a group of plant viruses that cause devastating disease on food, fiber, and ornamental crops, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

According to Judith Brown, professor of plant sciences at the University of Arizona's Department of Plant Sciences, the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (B. tabaci), is the exclusive insect vector (transmitter) for a large group of emerging plant viruses that infect several hundred plant species worldwide. "Once considered an obscure whitefly, B. tabaci is now among the most invasive and economically damaging insects to agriculture, spanning food and fiber crops, and certain nursery grown ornamentals, with the ability to infest more than 500 plant species," she said.

This whitefly and the plant viruses it transmits are no longer restricted to their native habitats or contained by natural geographic boundaries. "The increased importance of new and emerging plant viral pathogens is directly related to the adaptive capacity of B. tabaci and its ability to exploit agricultural systems," Brown said. B. tabaci has proven difficult to control partly because of its tendency to develop insecticide resistance.

"As the population levels of the whitefly B. tabaci continue to remain robust, new species of plant viruses will continue to emerge and cause damaging diseases in food and fiber crops," Brown said.

Early virus and vector detection, information about their distribution and host range, and knowledge about the mode of virus transmission by this whitefly are essential for managing the emerging plant viruses and the vector populations. Continued research to learn more about the biology and genetics of both the plant viruses and the whitefly is also needed.
-end-
More information on this insect and the plant viruses it transmits is available on the APS website at http://www.apsnet.org/online/feature/btabaci/. APS is a non-profit, professional scientific organization.

The research of the organization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health.

American Phytopathological Society

Related Plant Species Articles from Brightsurf:

German researchers compile world's largest inventory of known plant species
Researchers at Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have compiled the world's most comprehensive list of known plant species.

Evolution in action: New Plant species in the Swiss Alps
A new plant species named Cardamine insueta appeared in the region of Urnerboden in the Swiss alps, after the land has changed from forest to grassland over the last 150 years.

Invasional meltdown in multi-species plant communities
New research led by University of Konstanz ecologists reveals invasional meltdown in multi-species plant communities and identifies the soil microbiome as a major driver of invasion success.

Study shows Latin America twice as rich in plant species as tropical Africa
Latin America is more than twice as rich in plant species as tropical Africa and is home to a third of the world's biodiversity, a new paper published today in Science Advances confirms.

Plant size and habitat traits influence cycad susceptibility to invasive species
A long-term study on cycads in Guam has revealed how rapidly invasive species devastated the native Cycas micronesica species and the key factors that have influenced the plant's mortality.

About 94 per cent of wild bee and native plant species networks lost, York study finds
Climate change and an increase in disturbed bee habitats from expanding agriculture and development in northeastern North America over the last 30 years are likely responsible for a 94 per cent loss of plant-pollinator networks, York University researchers found.

Australian fossil reveals new plant species
Fresh examination of an Australian fossil -- believed to be among the earliest plants on Earth -- has revealed evidence of a new plant species that existed in Australia more than 359 Million years ago.

Study: One-third of plant and animal species could be gone in 50 years
University of Arizona researchers studied recent extinctions from climate change to estimate the loss of plant and animal species by 2070.

Scientists challenge notion of binary sexuality with naming of new plant species
A collaborative team of scientists from the US and Australia has named a new plant species from the remote Outback.

Plant lineage points to different evolutionary playbook for temperate species
An ancient, cosmopolitan lineage of plants is shaking up scientists' understanding of how quickly species evolve in temperate ecosystems and why.

Read More: Plant Species News and Plant Species Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.