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Brevipalpus mite-borne virus infection in Hibiscus spp. in Brazil

Grant number: 19/09222-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry
Principal Investigator:Juliana de Freitas Astúa
Grantee:Mariane da Costa Rodrigues
Home Institution: Instituto Biológico (IB). Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Agriculture is one of the main bases of the Brazilian economy, but the crops are affected by several pests and pathogens, generating financial losses. Among the pathogens, the group of viruses transmitted by mites of the genus Brevipalpus, known as Brevipalpus-transmitted viruses or BTVs, can be highlighted due to the significant increase in importance in the last decades, particularly in crops of economic importance such as citrus, coffee, passion fruit, and ornamentals like orchids. Recently, there have been several reports of BTVs identified originally in ornamental plants that have come to infect crops of economic interest. Hibiscus is an ornamental plant that deserves attention, with more than 200 species that are part of the genus Hibiscus spp., and at least four reported BTVs. The objective of this project is to carry out a survey of the diversity of viruses transmitted by Brevipalpus mites that infect hibiscus in Brazil. There are strong indications that this ornamental plant can act as a reservoir of several BTVs, since these plants are spread throughout gardens, backyards, squares and even in production areas of crops such as citrus, often used as hedges. In addition, hibiscus is also host of at least four species of Brevipalpus spp. Finally, quarantine and plant health inspection agencies tend to pay close attention to pests of cultivated plants, but are often less concerned about ornamental plants or crops of less economic importance, such as hibiscus, which can lead to the introduction of pests to pathogen-free areas.