Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Halting black raspberry decline


March 31, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

A new virus associated with black
raspberry decline has recently been discovered by scientists in Oregon,
U.S. According to the researchers, decline is generally a symptom of a
virus complex.

A new virus associated with black raspberry decline has recently been discovered by scientists in Oregon, U.S. According to the researchers, decline is generally a symptom of a virus complex. However, plants infected with the newly identified black raspberry decline-associated virus (BRDaV) will show symptoms even if the plant has no other diseases. In affected plants, BRDaV causes yellow, puckered and spotted leaves, yield reduction and cane dieback – the gradual death of shoots, branches and roots, from the tip inward. Decline shortens a plant’s life expectancy from several decades to three to four years, with severe economic repercussions. Identifying BRDaV as a cause of decline is an important step towards controlling the disease. BRDaV hitches a ride on the raspberry aphid Amphorophora agathonica. In fact, spread rates appear to be directly related to aphid numbers. This suggests that controlling the aphid population could slow the disease’s proliferation. Researchers also learned that BRDaV can infect other commercial and native Rubus berry plants – such as blackberry and raspberry – without triggering symptoms, making isolation from other commercial berry plantings an important part of any disease-control strategy.

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