Detection of Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in four pasture grass species in Australia
CSIRO Plant Industry, PO Box 1600 Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
Accepted: 01 Sep 2003
Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) has been recently been identified in Australia (Ellis et al., 2003), where it was detected in glasshouse-grown wheat plants and in a summer wheat crop at the Ginninderra Experimental Station, Canberra. An extensive survey of the area around the wheat crop was conducted to assess the spread of the virus into adjacent pasture species. Samples of grasses were harvested and then tested for WSMV by RT-PCR (French and Robertson, 1994). The survey involved testing circa 1600 samples from a 200 m radius of the infected wheat crop. A number of the grasses sampled showed leaf streaking and mottling characteristic of WSMV in wheat (see Murray et al. 1998 for leaf symptoms in wheat). Using RT-PCR, fourteen WSMV-positive samples were found on four common grass weeds of pastures in southern Australia (Fig. 1), including African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees), whorled pigeon grass (Setaria verticillata (L.) Beauv.), spike goosegrass (Eleusine tristachya Lam.) and a panic (Panicum sp.). The latter was not identified to the species level, due to the lack of floral structure in the sample. The 271 bp RT-PCR products were sequenced and were over 99% identical to the WSMV isolate from wheat (Ellis et al., 2003).
The wheat curl mite (Aceria tosichella), the vector of WSMV (Murray et. al. 1998) was also identified on pasture grasses in the sampling area (Bruce Halliday, Pers. Comm.). WSMV is known to have a wide host range amongst the Poaceae (Oldfield and Proeseler, 1996). However, this is the first report of this virus in African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) and three spike goosegrass (Eleusine tristachya). These grasses commonly occur within Australian pastures, suggesting that Australian pastures can act as potential sources of WSMV infection for adjoining cereal crops.
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- Murray TD, Parry DW, Cattlin ND, 1998. A Colour Handbook of Diseases of Small Grain Cereal Crops. London, UK: Manson Publishing.
- Oldfield GN, Proeseler G, 1996. Eriophyoid mites as vectors of plant pathogens. In: Lindquist EE, Sabelis MW, Bruin J, eds. Eriophyoid Mites: Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science BV, 259-275.
This report was formally published in Plant Pathology
©2003 The Authors