First evidence for association between the tomato russet mite Aculops lycopersici (Acari: Eriophyidae) and the newly identified tomato fruit blotch virus


Abstract: The precise number of eriophyid species operating as virus vectors is unknown;
however, understanding of virus transmission processes, research methodology, and related
weak/critical phases will increase. The proposed name for a recently discovered virus that
causes uneven and blotchy ripening along tomato fruits with dimpling and dark patches is
tomato fruit blotch virus (ToFBV), genus Blunervirus, family Kitaviridae. The tomato russet
mite (Aculops lycopersici Massee, family Eriophyidae) is a possible vector for ToFBV. High
population densities of A. lycopersici have been discovered on the ToFBV-tomato cultivations
in Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Greece. Studies on the potential role of A. lycopersici in ToFBV
transmission were performed by: i) field collection of A. lycopersici where virus is present and set-up of a lab rearing; ii) improvement of the detection of ToFBV in A. lycopersici by
development of molecular tools for the virus detection; and iii) transmission trials.

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