Aphids & virus transmission in seed crops


Industry Challenge

Virus incidence in seed potatoes has a significant bearing on the quality (and hence classification and profitability) of the crop, and it is monitored during the crop inspections required for seed potato classification. Potyviruses (predominantly Potato Viruses Y and A) have become the most common viruses in the UK seed potato crop. Potyviruses are spread by aphids and the current control methods use insecticides to kill vector aphids. However, control of potyvirus spread is difficult because acquisition and inoculation can both occur in seconds before some pesticides can take effect.


FERA, Scottish Agronomy (SA), SAC. SASA and JHI


The objectives are as follows:

  • Identify the most important potyvirus vector aphids using a combination of laboratory/glasshouse and field studies.
  • Develop systems which effectively utilise aphid monitoring data and provide quality information for virus management programmes.
  • Identify sources of potyvirus inoculum and investigate their importance in the spread of virus to seed crops.
  • To obtain an improved understanding of the Estima-PVA interaction.
The project included field and laboratory studies, surveys of plants in seed growing areas as well as data mining exercises.
Project code:
01 July 2009 - 30 June 2012
Project leader:
Brian Fenton


About this project

To identify the most important potyvirus vector aphids and sources of potyvirus inoculum, and to investigate the latter's importance in the spread of virus to seed crops.