Focus on Cucurbits

Whitefly-Transmitted Yellowing Viruses
of Cucurbit Crops

August 2020

By William M. Wintermantel, Ph.D.
Research Plant Pathologist
Salinas, California
Phone: 831-755-2824

Watch Presentation (32 min 51 sec)

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Summary: Whitefly-transmitted virus diseases of cucurbit crops are an increasing threat to production throughout the southeastern, southern, and southwestern United States where sweet potato whiteflies are prevalent. This webcast describes differences in symptoms caused by the whitefly-transmitted viruses known to infect U.S. cucurbit crops and discusses the importance of early virus identification, insect control, and management of weed and alternate crop host plants, as well as the potential for use of resistant varieties.

Biography: William M. Wintermantel was raised in a small town in Iowa. He attended Central College, where he majored in biology and was introduced to plant pathology while working during the summer at Pioneer Hi-Bred in Des Moines. His work at Pioneer led to an interest in plant pathology and subsequent graduate studies with Dr. Jim Schoelz at the University of Missouri, where he received a PhD in plant pathology in 1994. After earning his PhD, Dr. Wintermantel joined the laboratory of Dr. Milton Zaitlin as a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University. Dr. Wintermantel joined the USDA-ARS in Salinas, California, as a research plant pathologist in 1998, and since 2001, he has been project leader for the ARS virology research program in Salinas. His research focuses on viruses affecting vegetable agriculture, specifically virus epidemiology, vector transmission, molecular and biological characterization of plant viruses, and other studies critical to the development of virus management strategies. He is known for his extensive studies on factors driving epidemiology and influencing transmission of viruses, especially whitefly-transmitted viruses in the genus Crinivirus.

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