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Cacao swollen shoot virus in Nigeria: analysis of a pathogen and its vectors

Obok, E. E. (2015) Cacao swollen shoot virus in Nigeria: analysis of a pathogen and its vectors. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Cacao swollen shoot virus (CSSV) causes the Cacao swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD) and significantly reduces production in West African cacao. This study characterised the current status of the disease in the major cacao growing States in Nigeria and attempted a clarification on the manner of CSSV transmission. Two separate field surveys and sample collections were conducted in Nigeria in summer 2012 and spring 2013. PCR-based screening of cacao leaf samples and subsequent DNA sequencing showed that the disease continues to persist in Ondo and Oyo States and in new cacao sites in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo States. Mealybug samples collected were identified using a robust approach involving environmental scanning electron microscopy, histology and DNA barcoding, which highlighted the importance of integrative taxonomy in the study. The results show that the genus Planococcus (Planococcus citri (Risso) and/or Planococcus minor (Maskell)) was the most abundant vector (73.5%) at the sites examined followed by Formicococcus njalensis (Laing) (19.0 %). In a laboratory study, the feeding behaviour of Pl. citri, Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni-Tozzetti) and Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret) on cacao were investigated using electrical penetration graph (EPG) analysis. EPG waveforms reflecting intercellular stylet penetration (C), extracellular salivation (E1e), salivation in sieve elements (E1), phloem ingestion (E2), derailed stylet mechanics (F), xylem ingestion (G) and non-probing phase (Np) were analysed. Individual mealybugs exhibited marked variation within species and significantly differed (p ≤ .05) between species for E1e and E1. PCR-based assessments of the retention time for CSSV in viruliferous Pl. citri, Ps. longispinus and Ps. viburni fed on a non-cacao diet showed that CSSV was still detectable after 144 hours. These unusually long durations for a pathogen currently classified as a semi-persistent virus have implications for the design of non-malvaceous barrier crops currently being considered for the protection of new cacao plantings.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Wetten, A.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:55815


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