First record of Plum pox potyvirus in Tunisia
So far Plum pox potyvirus (PPV - EPPO A2 list) had not been found in Tunisia. In 2000, mother blocks of Prunus were tested for the presence of viruses. Random collection of suspicious samples did not, at that time, result in the detection of PPV. However, the appearance of virus-like symptoms in leaves and fruits of Japanese plums (Prunus salicina) in stone-fruit tree germplasm collections led to further screening tests. Plant material was taken from collections of Japanese plum at 2 locations (Grombalia in the Cap Bon region and Sbikha in the Kairouan region) where suspicious symptoms had been observed. Samples were collected from 34 trees at Grombalia and from 82 trees at Sbikha, corresponding in total to 11 different cultivars. Samples were tested for the presence of PPV by grafting onto GF 305, and by serological and molecular tests. Results confirmed the presence of PPV at the 2 locations on 57 P. salicina trees (corresponding to 9 cultivars). Only PPV-D was detected. It is hypothesized that PPV has been introduced into Tunisia with imported plants for planting. All infected trees have been destroyed. It is stressed that PPV is a very serious threat to Prunus production and that strict phytosanitary measures are needed to prevent any further spread of sharka in Tunisia.
The situation of Plum pox potyvirus in Tunisia can be described as follows: Present, first reported in 2004, found in 2 germplasm collections of Prunus salicina, under official control.
Boulila M, Briard P, Ravelonandro M (2004) Outbreak of Plum pox potyvirus in Tunisia.
Journal of Plant Pathology,86(3), 197-201.