EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 2014 Num. article: 2014/132

Updated situation of Potato spindle tuber viroid in Belgium

The NPPO of Belgium recently provided the EPPO Secretariat with an update of the situation of Potato spindle tuber viroid (Pospiviroid, PSTVd – EPPO A2 List) on its territory. During multi-annual surveys on ornamental Solanaceae, tomato and potato production carried out from 2009 until 2012, PSTVd was found 3 times on Solanum jasminoides on the Belgian market and intercepted once on imported Petunia cuttings originating from Israel. In all cases where PSTVd was found, appropriate measures were taken to trace back infections, to prevent any further spread and eradicate the disease, in accordance with Belgian legislation (Royal Decree of 2005-08-10) and EU Commission Decision 2007/410/EC. In general, when PSTVd is detected in ornamental species, contaminated lots are destroyed by incineration. All other lots of susceptible host species present are sequestered and sampled. All material in contact with the contaminated lot has to be disinfected and strict hygienic measures are imposed. Import and movement of plants comply with EU Commission Decision 2007/410/EC, with systematic sampling of S. jasminoides and Brugmansia sp.

  • Tomato
In August 2006, tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum cv. 72-605 (RZ)) were found infected by PSTVd. The presence of the viroid was confirmed by PCR. The infection was restricted to one lot of tomato for consumption cultivated in one single production unit (see EPPO RS 2008/076) and the disease was subsequently eradicated.

  • Ornamental Solanaceae
In November 2006, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) started a monitoring programme on ornamental Solanaceae (import and domestic production) triggered by a notification of PSTVd made by the Netherlands. Results of this monitoring programme carried out in 2007 and 2008 were reported in more detail by Michelante et al. (2009) in the EPPO Bulletin. Further official surveys were carried out from 2009 to 2012 during which 250 to 400 samples were tested in the laboratory every year. In 2009, one consignment of Petunia cuttings imported from Israel was found to be positive for PSTVd. No further findings were made during the 2010 official survey. One outbreak on S. jasminoides was detected at the end of 2009 in West-Flanders during an NPPO research project. The company concerned was multiplying plants from material bought several years ago. These plants were intended for final consumers and all were destroyed. In this company, all samples taken during official control and follow up studies were found to be negative. In 2011, PSTVd was detected in one sample of S. jasminoides collected from a wholesale business in East Flanders. In 2012, one finding was made on S. jasminoides in a garden centre in the province of Liège.

  • Potato
Official surveys confirm that PSTVd has never been found in Belgian potato production.

The pest status of Potato spindle tuber viroid in Belgium is officially declared as: Transient, actionable, under eradication in ornamentals. All recent findings or interceptions concern ornamentals (4 between 2009-2012, on Petunia and Solanum jasminoides). Only one outbreak in greenhouse on tomato in 2006, eradicated. Absent, never recorded during specific surveys, in the potato production.


NPPO of Belgium (2014-06).
Michelante D, Leicher J, Huyshauwer V, Swillens L, Bragard C, Steyer S (2009) Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd): situation in Belgium and experience on managing monitoring and eradication in ornamental and tomato productions. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 39(1), p 81.