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Mar 9, 2011

USDA Fights Devastation of Melon Harvests By CYSDV (Cucurbit Yellow Stunting Disorder Virus)

Courtesy of the University of Arizona
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
On 9 March 2011, ScienceDaily reported on the progress made by USDA scientists to fight the cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV).  This virus attacks melons such as cantaloupes and honeydews.  It has been particularly financially devasting to farmers in California's Imperial Valley, Yuma, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.  The virus is transmitted by whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci, a small, sap-sucking insect) and originated in the Middle East.  Since 2006, it has spread to Florida.

Research to find solutions has been led by plant pathologists Bill Wintermantel and Jim McCreight at the USDA's Agricultural Research Station in Salinas, California.  They are working on creating gene-engineered melons that are virus-resistant to CYSDV.  They are using genes from "an exotic, salad-type melong from India" that are virus-resistant to another similar virus.

To date the only way to control the disease is to control the whitefly population, which is difficult.  CYSDV devastates fields, often leading to complete or near complete harvest losses. 

For more see: "Melon Growers: Combating Cucurbit Yellow Stunting Disorder Virus," ScienceDaily, 9 March 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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