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Strategies for the control of the passion fruit woodiness disease caused by Cowpea aphid borne mosaic virus (CABMV)

Abstract

The Passifloraceae family is widely distributed in the tropics, with more than 580 species. Among the edible species of the genus Passiflora, are P. edulis f. flavicarpa and P. alata as the most cultivated in Brazil. The country is the world's leading producer of yellow passion fruit and recently, the specie P. alata (sweet passion fruit) has gained attention in the market for fresh fruit. With the increase in cultivated area, a series of phytossanitary problems have hampered production and quality of passion fruit. Among them, Cowpea aphid borne mosaic virus (CABMV), the causal agent of the disease known as passion fruit woodiness, has stood out because it is disseminated to all producing areas of passion fruit in the country. This virus reduces the longevity of the plants and causes quantitative and qualitative yield losses. At the moment there are no durable and efficient alternatives for disease control. Thus, this project aims to study alternatives for disease control: i) at first, with expected results in the medium and long time, it is proposed to continue studies with transgenic lines expressing the coat protein gene of the virus, which have shown resistant to the pathogen. The R2 progeny will be evaluated in the greenhouse and in the field in the near future. We intend also to evaluate new transgenic lines of yellow and sweet passion fruit obtained recently with the antisense and hairpin constructs with the coat protein gene of CABMV. ii) a second proposal, in order to provide an alternative for disease control in a shorter time, intends to study the practical and economic viability of a new practice for passion fruit crop management, combined with the systematic eradication of disease plants, and iii) third, to reassess the possibilities for selection of mild strains with increased invasiveness and stability that can be used for disease control by preimmunization. (AU)

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