New Disease Reports (2001) 3, 8.

First report of Pepino mosaic virus in tomato in Italy

P. Roggero*, V. Masenga, R. Lenzi, F. Coghe, S. Ena and S. Winter


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Accepted: 16 May 2001

Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) was originally found in pepino (Solanum muricatum) from Peru (Jones et al., 1980). It has been reported affecting tomato crops in France (Anonymous, 2000), Germany (Lesemann et al., 2000, unpublished), Spain (Jorda et al, 2000), The Netherlands (van der Vlugt et al., 2000), and the United Kingdom (Wright & Mumford, 1999, unpublished). It is now included on the EPPO Alert List.

Unusual virus-like symptoms were noticed in Southern Sardinia (Italy) in February and March 2001 on glasshouse tomato cultivars, Camone and Cronos, grafted onto tomato cv. Beaufort rootstocks obtained from an Italian propagator, before transplanting in late summer 2000. Some leaves showed chlorosis and scattered necrotic spots on their distal part and on others there were symptoms of chlorosis and mosaic (Fig. 1). The symptoms were first noticeable in October, on only a few plants, but by March 2001, more than 40% of the tomato plants were affected by the disease. On stems and young leaves a mild mosaic was sometimes present (Fig 2).

On some immature fruits alteration of the colour was seen and later uneven ripening was noticed (Fig. 3).

Electron microscopic observation of negatively-stained preparations from tomato leaves or fruit revealed the presence of typical potexvirus-like particles. Using immunosorbant electron microscopy (IEM), these particles were decorated using an antiserum (DSMZ AS-0554; IgG at 1 mg/ml) produced against a Peruvian PepMV isolated from pepino (Jones et al., 1980). A two-fold dilution series performed using this antiserum revealed a 3-step reduction in the detection limit against a sample of Italian PepMV from tomato (at only 1:32), when compared with the original Peruvian isolate (detection limit 1:256). Van der Vlugt et al., (2000) also reported differences in the decoration titre in IEM, when using an antiserum raised against a Peruvian pepino isolate of PepMV (Jones et al., 1980) against a tomato isolate from the Netherlands. However, despite these differences observed in IEM, PepMV from three different glasshouses was easily and reliably detected using this antiserum in DAS ELISA, with sap dilutions down to 1:1000. Finally, upon mechanical inoculation to tomato cv. Marmande, one isolate of the virus induced mosaic.

This is the first report of PepMV in Italy. Although spread within the glasshouse can be easily explained by the extreme infectivity of the virus, the dissemination route of the virus within European countries still remains unclear.

Figure 1: Mosaic and chlorosis on old tomato leaves induced by PepMV.
Figure 1: Mosaic and chlorosis on old tomato leaves induced by PepMV.
Figure 2: Mosaic on apical tomato leaves induced by PepMV.
Figure 2: Mosaic on apical tomato leaves induced by PepMV.
Figure 3: Symptoms on immature and mature tomato fruits induced by PepMV.
Figure 3: Symptoms on immature and mature tomato fruits induced by PepMV.


The authors wish to acknowledge their research which is conducted at the Istituto di Fitovirologia Applicata supported by National Research Council of Italy. Special Project "Diagnosi precoce di malattie nelle piante di interesse agrario e forestale", paper No. 9.


  1. Anonymous, 2000, NPPO of France, 2000-03.INTERNET Brèves du Ministère de l'Agriculture
  2. Jones RAC, Koenig R, Lesemann DE, 1980. Pepino mosaic virus, a new potexvirus from pepino. Annals of Applied Biology, 94, 61-68.
  3. Jordá, C, Lázaro, A, Font, I, Lacasa, A, Guerrero, MM, Cano, A, 2000 Nueva enfermeded en el tomate. Phytoma-España, 119, 23-28.
  4. Leseman D -E., Dalchow, J, Winter, S, Pfeilstetter, E, 2000 (unpublished). Occurrence of Pepino mosaic virus in European tomato crops: Identification, Etiology and Epidemiology. Auftreten von Pepino Mosaic Virus in Europäischen Tomatenbeständen: Identifizierung, Ätiologie, Epidemiologie: Mitt. a.d. Biol. Bundesanst. H. 376, 323
  5. van der Vlugt, RAA, Stijer CCMM, Verhoeven J, Lesemann DE, 2000. First report of Pepino mosaic virus on tomato. Plant Disease, 84, 103.
  6. Wright, D., Mumford, R. 1999 (unpublished). Pepino mosaic potexvirus (PepMV). First records in tomato in the United Kingdom. Plant Disease Notice No. 89, CSL York.

This report was formally published in Plant Pathology

©2001 The Authors