Tulip virus X is tougher than expected

Published on
February 27, 2020

The Tulip virus X - or TVX - can survive as long as eight months in the soil. That is one of the results of the PPP 'Towards virus-free and sales-oriented cultivation'. The Greenhouse Horticulture and Biointeractions Business Units of Wageningen University & Research together with Proeftuin Zwaagdijk and the Flower Bulb Inspection Service (BKD) are conducting research on viruses in bulbous tulip and lily and in perennial hosta.

The research focuses at two groups of viruses: Potex viruses (including Tulip virus X, Plantago asiatica mosaic virus and Hostavirus X) and Potyviruses (such as the tulip mosaic virus). Researchers look at possible sources, control, demonstrability and possible alternative control measures and more. The potex viruses have similarities with each other, but can also differ, for example with regard to host plants.

Eight months

Take TVX. That virus can survive in many more species of weeds than previously thought. The number of possible host plants is therefore high. And research with test plants shows that the virus can survive for three months in different soil types (soil, clay or sand). Test plants show that the virus from the soil is still able to infect plants. A PCR test, a sensative method that detects and multiplies DNA, showed that the virus was present in the soil for up to eight months. Researchers are currently growing tulips and other plants on the contaminated soil to investigate whether they get infected through the contaminated soil.

The project

This project also looks at the detection of the virus in different parts of the plant. This is important for optimum sampling. In addition, research is being conducted into possible alternatives for the chemical selection of flower bulbs. And also for alternatives to limit virus transmission through aphids in both lily and tulip.

The PPP 'Towards virus-free and sales-oriented cultivation' is funded by the Top Sector Horticulture & Propagation Materials and the private parties iBulb / Anthos, KAVB, BKD, Hobaho, CNB and Select Plant Hosta.