The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) has confirmed a reported outbreak of Southern Tomato Virus (STV) in the UK – the first time the disease has been seen in this country.
The disease, which displays symptoms which are similar to those of ToBRFV and PepMV has previously been reported in Europe for a number of years. Plant damage from the disease, which is believed to be seed-borne, ‘does not seem to be very damaging.’ Removal of infected plants is currently being advised.
A scientific paper published by US researchers in 2008 which first identified the virus suggests that infection may lead to the production of smaller, discoloured fruit. The authors also concluded that, “The biological properties of STV, including its seed transmission, are similar to previously described plant viruses with dsRNA genomes. Other means of transmission are unknown. Taking into account the apparently high incidence of this virus in affected tomato fields, we cannot exclude transmission by an aerial vector.”
TGA says it will work with AHDB Horticulture to provide additional information to growers.
Photo caption: The symptoms of STV are said to resemble those of PepMV (shown)