A new viral disease of cotton found in recent years in several southeastern U.S. states has now been confirmed in Texas.
The disease, cotton blue disease, was observed recently in a cotton field in Central Texas where multiple off-type plants were noted by a research group headed by David Stelly, Ph.D., a cotton breeder in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station. Other contributors to the discovery were Robert Vaughn, Ph.D., a research specialist also with the soil and crop sciences department, and graduate students Christian Hitzelberger and Luis De Santiago.
The virus can cause boll drop, and although yield losses have been associated with it, there are also examples where it has had no obvious effect on yield. The virus has also been detected in cotton plants not showing any obvious symptoms. Persistence of the virus in cotton regrowth is also possible.
The virus is transmitted by aphids, and additional hosts such as henbit and pigweed also have been identified, said Tom Isakeit, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, College Station.
Isakeit added that going forward, Texas A&M personnel, specifically Olufemi Alabi, Ph.D., should be contacted for testing of cotton samples within Texas.’
Isakeit said although it appears most U.S. cotton varieties are susceptible to the disease, the timing of the infection and other factors will ultimately affect yield loss.
“At this point, researchers across the region are evaluating the use of insecticides to control aphids for successful management of the disease,” he said.
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