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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1133: XI International Rubus and Ribes Symposium

Eliminating Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) from infected raspberry tissue cultures with ribavirin

Author:   C.A. Weber
Keywords:   chemotherapy, red raspberry, Rubus idaeus, virus elimination
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1133.72
Eliminating Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) from infected raspberry plants is difficult using standard heat treatment/meristem excision procedures for virus elimination due to its ability to colonize meristematic tissue surrounding the apical dome. In this study, ribavirin was used in combination with tissue culture to produce putatively RBDV-free plants that were transferred to soil. The RBDV status of the genotypes was followed for five years in actively growing plants and tissue cultures. Adventitious shoots and multi-nodal stem segments from eight RBDV-infected red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) genotypes from the Cornell University breeding program were treated with ribavirin. A total of 272 plantlets transferred from tissue culture to soil were grown for three months prior to RBDV testing by ELISA. A total of 13 plants (4.8%) from four of the eight different genotypes tested free of RBDV three months post culture. The RBDV negative plants were retested at four months post culture and 11 of 13 representing all four genotypes remained RBDV-free. New cultures were established from these plants and retested at later dates. Two of the four genotypes remained RBDV-free after five years, while two tested positive in subsequent tests. Eliminating RBDV virus from red raspberry cultures using ribavirin is possible, but ribavirin may also have the potential to suppress the virus for a significant period of time, thus producing false negatives months after treatment. Careful monitoring of putatively RBDV negative plants over time is required to confirm the virus status of the plants.

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