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First report of Spiranthes mosaic virus 3 in Phlox spp. in New Zealand.

Tang, J. ; Khan, S. ; Quinn, B. ; Veerakone, S. ; Milleza, E. ; Ward, L. I.

Plant Disease 2017 Vol 101 No. 5 pp. 849;

Abstract

In March 2016, a plant of Phlox stolonifera 'Blue Ridge' with mild leaf mottle symptoms was received at the Plant Health and Environment Laboratory, Auckland, New Zealand. The plant originated from a commercial plant nursery in Christchurch on the South Island. Electron microscopy of a crude sap preparation from the phlox sample revealed the presence of flexuous filamentous virus particles with a length of 650-700 nm. Based on PCR assay and analysis of the nucleotide sequences, the causal agent was identified as Spiranthes mosaic virus 3 (SpMV3). Samples from a further 12 phlox plants (including two plants of Phlox drummondii and five each of P. stolonifera and Phlox subulata) that had been collected from different regions in the North and South Islands of the country were tested for the presence of SpMV3. Four plants (two plants each of P. stolonifera and P. subulata) from both North and South Islands tested positive. In this study, no viruses other than SpMV3 were detected in the phlox plants tested, as determined by herbaceous indexing with common bioassay hosts and a range of RT-PCR tests with generic or specific primers. With the exception of the original plant, all other phlox plants were symptomless. Moreover, the symptoms observed in the original plant of P. stolonifera 'Blue Ridge' eventually disappeared after repotting the plant, so the symptoms have been attributed to nutrient deficiency. This is thought to be the first report of SpMV3 in New Zealand and the virus is considered to be widespread in this country but is of low economic significance.