Occurrence of alfalfa mosaic and subterranean clover red leaf viruses in legume pastures in Western Australia

S. J. McKirdy, R. A.C. Jones

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29 Citations (Scopus)


When leaf samples were collected from 94 Trifolium subterraneum (subterranean clover) pastures from six districts in spring 1993 in the south-west of Western Australia and tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, no alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) or subterranean clover red leaf virus (SCRLV) was detected. In contrast, when 21 irrigated T. repens (white clover) pastures from one district (Bunbury) were sampled and tested in January (summer) 1994, AMV was detected in 16, with eight having infection levels >86%, while SCRLV was found in seven at infection levels of <12%. When a further five T. repens pastures were tested for AMV in October (spring) 1994, the virus was found in all with incidences up to 100%. None of the T. repens pastures with high levels of AMV infection had been resown with T. repens within the last 20 years, whereas those resown within the last five years had little or no infection. AMV was detected in 9/91 annual medic (Medicago spp.) pastures from seven wheatbelt districts sampled in spring 1991 or 1993; a single pasture of M. polymorpha (burr medic) cv. Serena was 21% infected, but the other eight infected ones had <3%. AMV seed transmission was detected in 1/19 commercial seed stocks of M. polymorpha harvested in 1991-93. AMV infection was followed over a 12-year period in M. murex (murex medic) cv. Zodiac seed stocks. It persisted readily through successive seed harvests during this period. It is concluded that infection with AMV and SCRLV is currently not a threat to T. subterraneum pastures in the south-west of Western Australia and that AMV seems not to be one in wheatbelt annual medic pastures provided these are sown with healthy medic seed. In contrast, AMV poses a potential threat to the productivity of irrigated T. repens pastures. SCRLV is also sometimes present in T. repens pastures, but was not found at serious levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-774
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Agricultural Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


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