British Society for Plant Pathology report

‘Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus’ in Morocco

The UK based British Society for Plant Pathology has reported the first occurrence of the Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) in Morocco. The British Society’s New Diseases Reports bulletin declared that the ToLCNDV constitutes a threat to the Moroccan production of cucurbits, including wax gourd, watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini, and to the Solanaceae plant family which includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

ToLCNDV was first found in India in 1995, then in other Asian countries soon after. More recently it has spread to Mediterranean countries -initially Spain, Tunisia and Italy- where it has been causing serious problems to growers, and more lately in Morocco.

The virus spreads either by direct contact or by seeds and infected plants. The outbreak has also been confirmed by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, since symptoms resembled those caused by ToLCNDV were observed in zucchini crops near Agadir and Taroudant in 2017.

“The incidence of disease was significant, with severe yellow mosaic symptoms accompanied by leaf curling and roughness of the fruit skin. The infected plants had smaller and fewer fruits when compared to healthy ones, and in most cases, fruit bursting was observed,” says the report.

Morocco’s environmental conditions are favourable for cucurbit and Solanaceae crops and these are significant to the economy. According to a article, the country produces some seven million tons of cucurbit and Solanaceae crops annually, 750 000 tons of which are exported to markets in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

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