EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 06 - 2013 Num. article: 2013/127

Pepper chat fruit viroid a new viroid of capsicum and tomato possibly transmitted by seeds

In autumn 2006, a new disease was observed in a glasshouse crop of Capsicum annuum in the Netherlands. Fruit size of the infected plants was reduced by up to 50%, and plant growth was also slightly reduced. Investigations showed that the causal agent was a new viroid species belonging to the genus Pospiviroid and called Pepper chat fruit viroid (PCFVd). Inoculation experiments showed that PCFVd could infect several Solanaceae including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and potato (S. tuberosum). Following this initial record, the viroid was no longer found during the annual surveys and inspections carried out by the Dutch NPPO. PCFVd is currently considered as no longer present in the Netherlands.
In 2009, PCFVd was detected in other parts of the world on capsicum and tomato crops in Canada and Thailand, respectively. In Canada, PCFVd was detected for the first time in summer 2009 in Southern Ontario, in 1 glasshouse of Capsicum annuum cvs. ‘Score’ and ‘Lamborgini’. It was noted that approximately 3% of the plants were showing mild growth reduction and abnormally small fruits. At the end of 2009, PCFVd was detected for the first time in Thailand in tomato leaf samples collected from field crops in the province of Lampang. Affected tomato plants were stunted and showed leaf necrosis, distortion and discoloration. The mechanism of spread of PCFVd over long distances is not known but movement with traded seed is suspected.
At the end of 2012, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) reported that they had intercepted 5 consignments of tomato seed infected with PCFVd exported from Israel and Thailand in September and October 2012. These infected consignments were destroyed or re-exported following Australian regulations. This finding suggests that PCFVd, like other pospiviroids, might be seed-transmitted and that its geographical distribution is probably wider than originally thought.


Gibbs MJ, Chambers G, Seyb A, Mackie J, Constable F, Rodoni B, Letham D, Davis K (2013) First report of Pepper chat fruit viroid in traded tomato seed, an interception by Australian Biosecurity. Plant Disease 97(in press). http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-03-13-0293-PDN
NPPO of the Netherlands - Pest status of harmful organisms in the Netherlands (Fytosignalering covering 2012).
IPPC website. Australia. Tomato seed is a likely pathway for the spread of Pepper chat fruit viroid. https://www.ippc.int/news/tomato-seed-likely-pathway-spread-pepper-chat-fruit-viroid
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