Status of viruses causing symptoms in cucurbits in Puerto Rico
Rodrigues, José Carlos V.
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Cucurbits provide important basic ingredients for the Caribbean diet. Pumpkins are the second most important vegetable crop in terms of revenue generated in Puerto Rico. Virus and severe virus vector outbreaks are a frequent and major cause of low yields and phytosanitary limitations to growing cucurbits in Puerto Rico. Continuous growing throughout the year and overlapping of susceptible crops makes Puerto Rico, a highly diverse island, an excellent and dynamic environment for plant viruses to evolve. Those aspects are also a major challenge for the development of control strategies. A survey was conducted to assess the types and prevalence of viruses infecting cucurbits. The virus isolates were mechanically transmitted, serological assays were conducted to identify the various viruses and RT-PCR followed by sequencing was done for the potyviruses, which were the most frequently encountered viruses in this survey.