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VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 2

VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS Pt. 2

Last week we shared a brief introduction with you about three rare virus families. What makes these virus families so unique is their ability to infect humans, animals, and plants.

Out of 23 virus families, only 3 of them can cross between the Animalia and Plantae Kingdoms!

We looked at the Bunyaviridae family first and discovered that it is responsible for the Tospovirus, which is commonly seen in Thrips and can quickly cause stunted growth in important plants.

This week we’d like to take a closer look at the Rhabdoviridae virus family.

RHABDOVIRIDAE

The Basics

The Rhabdoviridae virus family officially contains 20 genera and has 143(4) species that are negative-sense and consist of a single-strand RNA. While the family of viruses can be hosted by vertebrates, arthropods, and plants, many of the plant and vertebrae viruses are arthropod-borne.

Out of the 20 genera that exist in this viral family there are 2 that are most commonly known to humans worldwide. As I’m sure you could guess by the name, one of the most infamous viruses of this family is Rabies. This virus may seem confined to only animals in developed portions of the world. But, in the countries of India and Africa, this virus remains a serious threat to humans. There are vaccines and antibodies to combat the virus, but don’t be fooled! If left untreated the disease has a 100% chance of death.

The second most notorious virus of this family is vesicular stomatitis. This disease affects horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, and occasionally humans. The result of contracting this virus is an influenza-like illness. While this virus may not be as severe as the Rabies virus, it still has an important economic impact on countries like the United States, who have eradicated similar diseases.

Affect on Plants

Now that you’ve seen the terror that this family of viruses can have on humans and animals, how does it affect plants? Well, I’m glad we finally got to this point. 

There are 4 different genera of this viral family that infiltrate plants: Cytorhabdovirus, Dichorhavirus, Nucleorhabdovirus, and Varicosavirus. 

Cytorhabdorvirus

This genus of viruses is commonly spread through arthropod vectors such as aphids, leafhoppers, and planthoppers. In 2015 a Novel Cytorhabdovirus was found in rice plants in China. The result of infection was dwarfing, yellow striping of leaves, mosaic and twisting of leaves, and eventually production of inferior heads of the plant bearing mostly few and unfilled grains. Typical symptoms of varieties of this virus in other plants include yellow striping, mosaic, and twisting of the leaves.

Dichorhavirus

This genus of the Rhabdoviridae virus is typically transmitted by mites. These viruses generate symptoms of localized lesions on leaves, stems, and fruits of plants that have high economical value. These viruses most commonly affect citrus, coffee, and orchids. Between 2013 to 2016 a new Citrus leprosis virus was discovered in Brazil. Citrus leprosis (CL) is a viral disease that produces necrotic and chlorotic lesions on the leaves, branches, and fruit of the citrus plant. This disease causes a significant yield reduction in citrus orchards. Additional diseases that are commonly seen from this virus also include Orchid Fleck Virus (OFV) and  Coffee Ringspot Virus (CRV).

Nucleorhabdovirus

This genus of viruses is transmitted commonly by leafhoppers, planthoppers, and aphids but can also be spread through vegetation propagation and mechanical measures. One of the most well-known variations of this virus is the Maize Mosaic Virus (MMV). This disease has been infiltrating plants since 1960. But in more modern times, there are many new varieties coming to light. In 2010, an alfalfa plant located in Stadl-Paura, Austria displayed symptoms of viral infection. In 2018 and 2019 the virally infected plants have been evaluated by scientists and have identified a new novel Nucleorhabdovirus strain. It is proposed as Alfalfa-associated Nucleorhabdovirus (AaNV). The disease can cause leaf rolling, mottling, yellowing, curling, and chlorotic lesions.

Varicosavirus

This genus naturally occurs in two families of plants: Compositae (which largely contain Angiosperms or flowering plants) and Solanaceae (which contain nightshade or potato family of flowering plants). The diseases of this genera are traditionally spread through soil and hydroponic systems by zoospores of a fungus called Olpidium virulentus. The two most common diseases associated with this viral genus is the Mirafiori Lettuce Big-Vein virus (MLBVV) and the Lettuce Big-Vein associated Virus (LBVaV). The LBVaV has been reported in many parts of the world including the United States and Europe. As of 2015 LBVaV infected lettuce plants have been observed in the central region of Columbia. The infected plants exhibit symptoms of vein clearing, big vein (hence the name), ruffling of the edges of the outer leaves, and small to no head.

What Does This All Mean?

While many of the viruses mentioned may originate somewhere else in the world. The impact each of these diseases has on the United States shouldn’t go unnoticed. Many of these diseases and pests are seen here in the United States because of the lack of diligence from outside countries. 

Plant diseases and pests wreak havoc on our agriculture and threaten our environment, food, and jobs!  

Amidst the current pandemic, the Plant Industry maintains a firm ground in the economy as people look to bring the outdoors inside. With mandated quarantines and economic decline, many people have looked to invest in their surroundings instead of their experiences.

This steady stream of potential has forced many in-store only sellers to take-on the e-commerce approach. While it may sound “hunky-dory”, many of these companies are inexperienced when it comes to selling across state lines, and do not realize the risks to our homes, gardens, and environment. 

Companies that aren’t using Plant Sentry, may not be protecting your plants!

Plant Sentry works around the clock to protect plants, YOUR plants. Growers that use Plant Sentry say to their buyers, “We’ve done our part to protect these plants from disease, pests, and invasive species so you can do your part in caring for them.” 

So when you’re reemerging from your quarantine and looking to improve your landscape, look for the Plant Sentry seal of verification and know that we’ve done our part so you can enjoy yours!

If you’re interested in learning how to protect your plants Contact Us today!

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VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS: Pt. 1

VIRUSES & VIRAL PLANTS: Pt. 1

As our extensive human history can exhibit, plagues and viruses have been claiming victims as early as 3000 B.C. But viruses specifically, really hit their sweet spot in manifestation around the end of the 1800s and well into the early 1900s. In recent years, viruses have become more aggressive in variation leading to our modern-day collection of coronaviruses.

To limit your thinking that humans are the only species that can be infected by viruses, like the novel coronavirus, would be a narrow approach to the subject. Especially considering that, for every organism on this planet, there is also a virus that can infect it.

HOW DOES A VIRUS WORK?

Most viruses are quite small, microscopically small in fact. Viruses are so microscopically small, they typically require an electron microscope just to be seen. They consist of three parts, the nucleic acid, a coat of protein, and a lipid membrane to seal it all in. The nucleic acid is the center of the virus and contains the DNA or RNA of the particle. Viruses come in all shapes and sizes and can look like a spiky ball, a creature from the Black Lagoon, or anything in between.

Due to the lack of complexity of a virus, for the virus to replicate or “live,” it must have a host cell. Without the host, the virus does not function. But, inside a host, the virus mutates into a villainous menace wreaking havoc on its occupant.

TYPES OF VIRUSES

There are several different types of viruses. In fact, there’s more like hundreds of thousands of different viruses on our planet. There are so many viruses inhabiting every aspect of the Earth’s ecosystems, that it is thought that they could be the most abundant type of biological entity.

THE RAREST OF VIRUSES

Out of all the viruses that exist on this planet, there are only three that can infect humans, plants, AND animals. These types of viruses are rare. But, learning more about them, you’ll discover you’ve seen more of them than you’d think.

There are three types of viruses that can infect humans, plants, and animals. They are Bunyaviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and Reoviridae. Each of these viruses has different functionalities and tendencies, but each one is still capable of causing a viral infection in you and your plants. So, let’s look at them more closely.

BUNYAVIRIDAE

This family of viruses is a single strand virus with enveloped RNAs.The family is very large and has five different genera: Orthobunyavirus, Phlebovirus, Nairovirus, Hantavirus, and Tospovirus. Four of the five viruses infect vertebrates, with only one of the four infecting only arthropods. But last, and most certainly not least, the Tospovirus infects only plants.

While the first four genera of the Bunyaviridae viruses are interesting and definitely worth knowing more about, for the sake of this blog and our interest in plants, we’re going to be specifically discussing Tospoviruses.

THE TOSPORVIRUS

The Tospovirus can be transmitted between plants by thrips and replicate in both the Thripidae and the plant cells. Upon first researching this topic, it was expected to find more rare and unknown types of infections that were caused by the virus. So much to my surprise, discovering that thrips was an insect vector component to the same family of viruses that typically cause hemorrhagic fevering in humans, really caught me off guard.

This virus was identified by scientists in 2014 as one of the most economically important and damaging plant viruses. As many plant owners are aware, thrips can quickly wreak havoc on fundamental crops such as potatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables. But, thrips also has the potential to infect greenhouse plants, as well as flowering plants too.

DAMAGE FROM THE VIRUS

For some plants, the damage that Tospovirusthrips can cause may simply result in an unsightly plant with little to harm done to the health of it. But for herbaceous ornamentals or vegetable crops, a viral thrips infestation can destroy the entire potential of the plant, especially while young. The viral pests feeding on the plant can cause stunted growth and loss of leaves from premature dropping due to the damage caused. Another cause of thrips, in some parts of the world, is silvering. This type of damage causes flowering to fail in setting fruit on the infected plant.

Dying leaves of an infected plant

One of the most fascinating components of this viral pest is the way that it repopulates and obtains the virus. In order for the pest to contract the virus, they must be in the larvae stage and must feed off of an infected plant. This is the only way that the thrip can contract the virus. However, both the larvae and adult thrips can spread the infection.

FINDING A SOLUTION

With 14 different species of thrips circulating the world, it’s no surprise that numerous solutions have since been developed. One solution is our very own Plant Sentry. There are other solutions out there to protect your plants from these viral pests, but doing so can be time-consuming and require a strong sense of sight.

It is commonly suggested to use a magnifying glass to view the thrips in their larvae stage or identify eggs on the underside of leaves on your plant. Another way to try and maintain control over this viral pest is to use a natural pesticide. Often it is suggested to curb a thrips infestation by pruning, however, if you aren’t careful, and you don’t clean your shears thoroughly the infestation can spread instead of remediating the problem.

LOOKING FORWARD

If you have somehow managed to avoid the word “Coronavirus” up until this point, I apologize, but you are now in the same boat as the rest of us. The past month around the world has been nothing short of a real-life “dumpster fire” and most of the globe is now confined to the inside of their homes. But, there’s a silver lining to this pandemic. As we’ve seen throughout history, we will overcome this challenge and become stronger than we were before.

As we mentioned many paragraphs ago, there are still two other types of viruses that belong to a family of viruses that can infect humans, animals, and plants. For this week, we discussed the Bunyaviridae family. Come back next week to learn about another viral family. And as always, if you’re looking for a shipping solution to help manage pests, invasive species, and diseases visit our contact us page to learn more!