A ProMED-mail post
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Date: Fri 4 May 2012
Source: The Indian Express [edited]
Muskmelon farmers of Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts are staring at huge losses as an outbreak of viral disease and cold weather conditions have reportedly caused over 80 percent crop damage in some areas.
Around 70 percent of the musk melon producers say they have already planted this crop, but stunted growth has resulted in muskmelons rotting in the field. "I had cultivated muskmelons on 5 acres, and all of it got damaged due to a viral disease which has led to early fruiting and disfigurement of the melons," said a farmer. Another farmer said that in around 200 hectares, almost the entire crop has been destroyed. "Farmers are facing huge losses," he added.
Horticulture Development officers said that cooler weather and strong winds had aided the viral attack. However, [they] blamed the outbreak on the farmers' buying hybrid seeds from various private companies instead of the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU). "Private companies mostly sell seeds without any [virus] check from the state horticulture department," they alleged. On why private companies were not checked, they said the horticulture department had no such powers.
[Byline: Anju Agnihotri Chaba]
[Muskmelon (_Cucumis melo_) includes several subspecies and many cultivars, both with smooth (such as honeydew) and netted (such as subsp. _reticulatus_, rockmelon or cantaloupe) skins.
An outbreak of _Cucumber mosaic virus_ (CMV) attributed to contaminated seed was reported on muskmelon in Punjab in 2011 (ProMED-mail post 20110505.1385). It seems likely that the item above reports a continuation of the CMV problems, although other viruses are also known to affect melons in the region (for example, _Zucchini yellow mosaic virus_, _Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus_). A new strain of CMV has been reported previously to cause diseases of muskmelon in Punjab (Sharma et al. 1984, Phytopath. Z. 109, 332-40).
CMV is found worldwide affecting a large number of hosts (around 190 recorded species) including many crops. It exists in numerous strains which may vary in their host range, symptoms, and means of transmission. In most hosts, it produces a systemic infection affecting newly formed tissues. For muskmelons, new leaves may wilt and die while older crown leaves may turn yellow then dry up, resulting in a slow decline of plant vigour and severe yield reduction.
CMV can be transmitted by more than 60 species of aphid vectors, which are distributed more widely when winds are stronger, as mentioned above. The virus can also be spread with infected plant material and very effectively by mechanical means (for example, during melon picking). Seed transmission to varying degrees has also been reported in 19 host species, including some weeds (which may act as pathogen and vector reservoirs) and a few inbred lines of muskmelon. Use of certified virus free melon seeds is, therefore, essential, but more information may be needed to verify the origin of the contaminated seeds in Punjab.
Disease management for CMV is difficult, since aphid vectors and virus reservoirs are widespread. Control of weeds surrounding cropped fields has shown some success. Host resistance is available in some crops but may only be effective against some of the virus strains.
CMV symptoms on cucurbits:
CMV and other viruses of cucurbits:
CMV on cucurbits and other hosts:
Information on CMV:
CMV taxonomy and description:
Viruses, sweet potato - China: survey 20120309.0558
Cucumber mosaic virus & mildew, muskmelon - India: (PB) 20110505.1385
Viruses, virus-like pathogens - Pacific Islands 20100514.1572
Banana viruses - Philippines (02): (CT) abaca ban 20091113.3926 Viruses & bacteria, multicrop - Solomon Islands 20090304.0887 Banana viruses - Philippines 20090204.0486
Undiagnosed virus, muskmelon - India: (PU) 20080523.1695 Cucumber mosaic virus, yams - West Africa 20080505.1533
Viruses, sweet potato - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Is. 20070901.2880 Viruses, sweet potato - worldwide: synergism 20070624.2042 and older items on CMV in the archives]