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Movement of aphid-transmitted Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (ScYLV) within and between sugarcane plants

Lehrer, A.T., Schenck, S., Yan, S.-L., Komor, E.
Plant pathology 2007 v.56 no.4 pp. 711-717
Melanaphis sacchari, Saccharum, Sugarcane yellow leaf virus, cultivars, immunoassays, leaves, meristems, planting, sugarcane, virus-free plants, viruses, Hawaii
Sugarcane yellow leaf virus (ScYLV) is distributed worldwide and has been shown to be the cause of the disease sugarcane yellow leaf syndrome (YLS). This study was an investigation of the transmission and spread of ScYLV in Hawaii. Several aphids are known to transmit the virus, but investigation of infestation and transmission efficiency showed Melanaphis sacchari to be the only vector important for field spread of the disease. The initial multiplication of ScYLV in a virus-free plant occurred exclusively in very young sink tissues. When a single leaf was inoculated on a plant, that leaf and all older leaves remained virus-free, based on tissue-blot immunoassay, whereas meristems and all subsequently formed new leaves became infected. Therefore, only after those leaves which had already developed before inoculation had been shed, did the complete plant contain ScYLV. Spread of the viral infection to neighbouring plants in the plantation fields via aphids was relatively slow and in the range of a few metres per year. No indication of long-distance transfer could be seen. This indicates that it may be possible to produce and use virus-free seed cane for planting of high-yielding but YLS-susceptible cultivars.