Potato spindle tuber viroid: Stability on common surfaces and inactivation with disinfectants

A.E. Mackie, B.A. Coutts, Martin Barbetti, B.C. Rodoni, S.J. Mckirdy, Roger Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society. The length of time Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) remained infective in extracted tomato leaf sap on common surfaces and the effectiveness of disinfectants against it were investigated.When sap from PSTVd-infected tomato leaves was applied to eight common surfaces (cotton, wood, rubber tire, leather,metal, plastic, human skin, and string) and left for various periods of time (5 min to 24 h) before rehydrating the surface and rubbing onto healthy tomato plants, PSTVd remained infective for 24 h on all surfaces except human skin. It survived best on leather, plastic, and string. It survived less well after 6 h on wood, cotton, and rubber and after 60 min on metal. On human skin, PSTVd remained infective for only 30 min. In general, rubbing surfaces contaminated with dried infective sap directly onto leaves caused less infection than when the sap was rehydrated with distilled water but overall results were similar. The effectiveness of five disinfectant agents at inactivating PSTVd in sap extracts was investigated by adding them to sap from PSTVd-infected leaves before rubbing the treated sap onto leaves of healthy tomato plants. Of the disinfectants tested, 20% nonfat dried skim milk and a 1:4 dilution of household bleach (active ingredient sodium hypochlorite) were the most effective at inactivating PSTVd infectivity in infective sap. When reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to test the activity of the five disinfectants against PSTVd in infective sap, it detected PSTVd in all instances except in sap treated with 20%nonfat dried skim milk. This study highlights the stability of PSTVd in infective sap and the critical importance of utilizing hygiene practices such as decontamination of clothing, tools, and machinery, along with other control measures, to ensure effective management of PSTVd and, wherever possible, its elimination in solanaceous crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-775
JournalPlant Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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