USDA ARS Virus Research

Since 2004, OSU faculty in Plant Pathology, Horticulture and Crop Science, Entomology, and USDA-ARS researchers have collaborated with scientists in Serbia on maize redness (MR) disease.  The U.S. part of the project was funded by USDA-FAS and the Serbian part by the Serbian Ministries of Science and Agriculture.  The disease caused 40-90% losses in the South Banat Region in 2002-2003, and continues to cause substantial losses for producers in Serbia.

Together with scientists at the Institute for Plant Protection and Environment (Serbia) and CABI, the pathogen causing MR was identified as stolbur phytoplasma, and the cixiid planthopper Reptalus panzeri was identified as the vector.  The disease cycle was determined and plant reservoirs of the disease were identified.  The team determined that hybrids commonly used by producers in the region are all highly susceptible to losses from MR. Results indicated that the common maize – wheat rotation used in the region exacerbates the disease problem, and the team suggested potential management strategies including alternative rotations and seed treatments for wheat and maize crops.  Continued work will focus on testing management strategies.

Lucy Stewart is collaborating with Filomena Sta. Cruz (University of the Philippines, Los Banos Philippines) on molecular characterization, leafhopper transmission determinant identification, and sequences comparisons of the waikaviruses Rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV) and Maize chlorotic dwarf virus (MCDV).