Defending food crops: Whitefly experimentation to prevent contamination of agriculture

Nov 08, 2013
Experimentation with whitefly-transmitted diseases provides a means of interfering with the plant-contamination process as well as the cultivation of plants that are altogether resistant to infection. Credit: JoVE

On November 8th, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, will introduce a new technique to aid in the development of defenses against diseases threatening food crops worldwide. The method, published under the title Transmitting Plant Viruses Using Whiteflies, is applicable to such at-risk crops as tomatoes and common bean plants. The whitefly method provides a means of interfering with the plant-contamination process as well as the cultivation of plants that are altogether resistant to infection.

"For example, the described is used to develop tomatoes with resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus, which is a big problem in tomato production in the southern U.S. and in many parts of the world," said Jane Polston, the principle investigator at the University of Florida's Department of Plant Pathology. In the article accompanying their JoVE video, Polston and her colleagues write that numerous genera of whitefly-transmitted plant viruses (such as Begomovirus, Carlavirus, Crinivirus, Ipomovirus, Torradovirus) are part of an emerging and economically significant group of pathogens affecting important food and fiber crops.

The technique includes reliably rearing whiteflies with a specific virus while omitting the possibility of cross-contamination to other viruses—an easily encountered problem because of the sheer number of whiteflies used in testing. Such contamination would jeopardize the results of an entire experiment. After exposing large numbers of a particular plant species to a specific whitefly-transmitted virus, a researcher can then note which individual resisted infection and why. This article outlines how to generate hundreds or thousands of infected plants year-round by exposing them to whiteflies each week. Therefore, the whitefly-assisted transmission method provides researchers with a powerful means for continued experimentation in developing plant defenses against the threat of -transmitted disease.

Numerous genera of whitefly-transmitted plant viruses are part of an emerging and economically significant group of pathogens affecting important food and fiber crops like tomato and bean plants. Credit: JoVE

Polston said that she published this technique through JoVE's video format because it was difficult to explain it through traditional text-only journals. "I have never published like this before and wanted to try it," she said, "And it was very difficult to describe some of the details of this technique in writing. Video was a better approach."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
On November 8th, JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, will introduce a new technique to aid in the development of defenses against diseases threatening food crops worldwide. Credit: JoVE


Explore further: Mobile technologies accelerate citizen science

Provided by The Journal of Visualized Experiments

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Whitefly spreads emerging plant viruses

Jan 18, 2007

A tiny whitefly is responsible for spreading a group of plant viruses that cause devastating disease on food, fiber, and ornamental crops, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Whitefly, tomato growers find truce in new Texas variety

Dec 05, 2011

The whitefly in Texas may be sending up a surrender flag to tomato processors in the state thanks to a Texas AgriLife Research scientist developing a new variety that resists the virus spread by this pesky ...

Recommended for you

Sharks off the menu and on the tourist trail in Palau

2 hours ago

In many places swimmers might prefer to avoid sharks, but wetsuit-clad tourists in Palau clamour to dive among the predators thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative that has made them one of the country's ...

DNA may have had humble beginnings as nutrient carrier

20 hours ago

New research intriguingly suggests that DNA, the genetic information carrier for humans and other complex life, might have had a rather humbler origin. In some microbes, a study shows, DNA pulls double duty ...

Central biobank for drug research

20 hours ago

For the development of new drugs it is crucial to work with stem cells, as these allow scientists to study the effects of new active pharmaceutical ingredients. But it has always been difficult to derive ...

No-take marine reserves a no-win for seahorses

21 hours ago

A UTS study on how seahorses are faring in no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) in NSW has revealed that where finishing is prohibited, seahorses aren't doing as well.

User comments : 0