Plum pox virus sampling progress

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Following the discovery of plum pox virus (PPV) on a plum tree at the SW Michigan Research and Extension Center in late July 2006, all susceptible trees at SWMREC were tested by ELISA. The original plum tree is still the only positive for SWMREC. The positive tree has been destroyed.

USDA and MDA staff are surveying outward in a two-mile radius and will continue to survey out toward a 5-mile radius until frost or leaf senescence prohibits any further sampling.
Approximately 33,000 samples have been collected to date on this project. The trace forward / trace back investigation is on-going. The source of the PPV in the positive tree at SWMREC is still unknown.

PPV is a plant disease affecting stone fruits, including plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots, but the strain D, the only one found North America, does not affect cherries. The virus distorts and discolors fruit, reduces yield and shortens tree life, but poses no threat to human or animal health.

Elsewhere, the USDA’s National Plant Germplasm and Biotechnology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, using ELISA testing, on July 17, 2006, confirmed the presence of the PPV on two plum tree samples in New York’s Niagara County. On August 21, a sample from a peach tree 11 miles east of the first New York finding was also confirmed positive for PPV.

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