In July 2018, unusual fruit and leaf symptoms were observed in numerous greenhouses cultivating tomatoes commercially in the Lower Rhine region of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. In total, more than 25 ha of greenhouse tomatoes were affected. New Disease Reports, an international online peer-reviewed journal published by the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP), reports on these matters.
It's the first report of ToBRFV in Germany, in Europe and outside countries of the Near East. In total ToBRFV has been confirmed in 7 greenhouses with tomatoes in North Rhine-Westphalia. Additionally, one further greenhouse with tomatoes is suspected to be
infested. This is the first finding of ToBRFV in Germany.
The infested tomato plants in this nurseries were used for tomato fruit production. Eradication measures are in progress, including clearing of the greenhouses of all tomato plants, destruction of the whole plant material, disinfection of all greenhouse surfaces and all objects that were involved in tomato production and the material that was used in the clearance of the greenhouses.
This tobamovirus is a risk to European horticulture. ToBRFV was discovered in Jordan in 2015, but already occurred in Israel in 2014. ToBRFV infects tomato plants and leads to mosaic staining of the leaves as well as discoloration and deformations of the fruits.
The virus can affect up to 100 % of a stock. The available resistance genes in conventional tomato varieties against other tobamoviruses are ineffective against ToBRFV. So far, too little is known about the
virus to exclude possible damage on other host plants. The virus can establish in greenhouse cultures of tomatoes in Germany and other EU Member States. Outdoors, potential host plants occur, which
can serve at least as reservoir for new infections. Because of its high damaging potential for tomato production, ToBRFV poses a significant phytosanitary risk for Germany and other EU Member States.
Foliar symptoms included chlorosis, mosaic with dark green bulges and narrowing Fruit symptoms consisted of yellow spots, often concentrated around the calyx with occasional rugose symptoms rendering the fruits non-marketable.