Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) was detected on some tomato seeds from a seed company called Fruition Seeds in New York recently. Although there are not yet any confirmed positives for ToBRFV on tomato seed that have been deployed to date, anyone (growers and homeowners) who have received certain varieties of tomato seeds are being contacted by Fruition to destroy any remaining seeds and plants.
The company has sent notification emails to all potentially impacted customers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “We believe these customers are primarily home growers. However, there may be some commercial operators who also received this seed”, the team shares.
If you are contacted, it is extremely important to:
- Place any remaining seeds or plants, even if planted in the field, into trash bags and dispose of them through their normal waste disposal methods.
- Not compost the materials.
- Apply a 10% bleach solution to any gardening tools or surfaces that came into contact with the plants/seeds.
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a rapidly emerging virus that can dramatically reduce the yield of tomatoes, primarily peppers. The threat of this virus to commercial production is severe. The virus can be readily transmitted through seeds and from plant to plant by mechanical touching (e.g., hands or tools). In addition, this virus overcomes existing genetic resistance to other closely related tobamoviruses in tomato and pepper. Management tactics are limited, so it is extremely important to limit the spread of this virus.
ToBRFV first emerged in a tomato greenhouse in 2014 and since then has spread to more than 30 countries. In the US, ToBRFV has been detected on imports in Florida, California, and Arizona and also in a home garden in Florida.
Infected leaves may show mosaic patterns, be deformed with darker green bulges, and/or have narrow leaves. Young leaves may show symptoms more severely or first. Peduncles (stems that bear fruit) and calyces (the green foliage at the base of flowers and fruit) may be necrotic. Plants may even fail to product fruit, but if the fruit is produced, it may have uneven coloring or blotches of color, deformed with rugose or wrinkled appearance, brown spots, and may have ringspots.
Pepper plants with ToBRFV may have puckered leaves, yellow mosaic or mottling on the leaves, and may be stunted. Similar rugose and imperfections may be observed on pepper fruit.