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Recent Viroid Disease Outbreaks in Greenhouse Tomatoes in North and Central America and Their Management

September 2015

By Kai-Shu Ling, Ph.D.
Research Plant Pathologist (Virology)
U.S. Vegetable Laboratory
2700 Savannah Highway
Charleston, SC 29414
Fax: 843-573-4715

Watch Presentation (14 min 12 sec)

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Summary: Greenhouse tomato production has increased significantly in North America, nearly half of the U.S. fresh tomatoes are greenhouse-grown. However, several high profile viroid disease outbreaks in greenhouse tomatoes in North and Central America in recent years have caused great concerns to the greenhouse tomato growers and vegetable seed producers. Because viroid-resistant tomato cultivars are not available, if sound disease management strategies are not taken to prevent viroid introduction from contaminated seed and prevention of viroid further spread through mechanical transmission, viroid disease epidemic is likely to become even a greater issue in the coming growing seasons. This presentation will help consultants, county agents, tomato growers, seed producers, federal and state regulators, and other practitioners in the North America and around the world to understand the emerging viroid diseases of tomato, their distribution, detection and management tactics. Specifically in this presentation, practitioners will learn: the recent viroid disease outbreaks, what are viroids and their transmission through seed and mechanical means; what key factors affect viroid disease epidemic in a greenhouse; technologies in disease diagnosis and viroid detection; and which chemicals are the most effective disinfectants to prevent viroid mechanical transmission. By the end of this presentation, the practitioner should know more about the tomato-infecting viroids, their diagnosis and detection. With the knowledge regarding the factors affecting viroid disease epidemiology, the practitioner should know how to prevent and manage a viroid disease outbreak in greenhouse tomato productions.

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