​​​​​Comparative Biology and Detection of Whitefly-Transmitted Cucurbit Viruses​

May 2022 | 18 min., 21 sec.
by Scott Adkins


​​During the past two decades, whitefly-transmitted viruses and their whitefly vector have become economic constraints to cucurbit production in the southeastern U.S. states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The different virus species—squash vein yellowing virus, cucurbit leaf crumple virus, and cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus— induce similar symptoms, and mixed infections of two or more viruses are common in cucurbit crops and weed reservoirs. The sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is a cucurbit pest itself and transmits all of these viruses, although different modes of transmission are employed. Collectively, these factors make accurate viral diagnosis essential for effective disease management. This presentation shares research findings about the biology and detection of whitefly-transmitted viruses of cucurbits, along with insights into how novel detection methods, such as the use of detector dogs, may be integrated into a neighborhood pest management strategy for controlling whiteflies and whitefly-transmitted viruses.

About the Presenter

Scott T. Adkins ​​​Scott Adkins is a native Marylander. After completing his BS and MS at Ohio State and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Adkins spent 3 years as a postdoctoral researcher studying viral RNA synthesis at Indiana University. In 1999, he joined the Subtropical Plant Pathology Research Unit at USDA-ARS in Fort Pierce, Florida, where he presently serves as a research plant pathologist (virologist). His research program addresses emerging vegetable and ornamental virus diseases in the subtropics, including viral watermelon vine decline and other whitefly-transmitted virus diseases, orthotospoviruses, and tobamoviruses. He chaired the Scientific Program Committee for the 2018 International Congress of Plant Pathology, extending his prior active involvement in The American Phytopathological Society (APS) annual meeting scientific planning from 2001 to 2013. He served as the sole “Disease Notes” assigning editor on the editorial board of the APS journal Plant Disease from 2006 to 2009. Adkins was named the 2013 APS Outstanding Volunteer and a 2018 APS Fellow.

Contact Information:
Email: scott.adkins@usda.gov


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