Several outbreaks of pospiviroids have been reported in pepper and tomato crops worldwide. Tracing back the origin of the infections has led to different sources. In some cases, the infections were considered to result from seed transmission. Other outbreaks were related to transmission from ornamental crops and weeds.
Pospiviroids, in particular potato spindle tuber viroid, are regulated by many countries because they can be harmful to potatoes and tomatoes. Seed transmission has been considered an important pathway of introduction and spread. However, the importance of this pathway can be questioned.
This paper presents data on seed transmission from large-scale grow-out trials of infested pepper and tomato seed lots produced under standard seed-industry conditions.
In addition, it presents the results of a systematic review of published data on seed transmission and outbreaks in commercial pepper and tomato crops.
Based on the results of the grow-out trials and review of the literature, it was concluded that the role of seed transmission in the spread of pospiviroids in practice is possibly overestimated.
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