Science Into Practice - Testing for viroid infection in tomato seeds

Columnea latent viroid (CLVd) is one of nine viroids known to affect tomatoes.

It was first confirmed in UK crops in 2007, with a further outbreak in 2009, and it spread rapidly. CLVd is notifiable and statutory action is taken on all outbreaks.

Symptoms are pale/chlorotic plants, leaf bronzing, reddening and necrosis, leaf deformation and bunching at the top of the plant. Once an infection source is established, CLVd is easily spread.

There is conflicting evidence for seed transmission. In the 2007 outbreaks, seed-borne infection was strongly implicated because simultaneous outbreaks occurred at different sites with the only common factor being the same variety and source of seed.

HDC project PC 294 set out to detect infected seed and latent infection in seedlings, validate detection methods, determine the type and frequency of seed-borne infection and screen products for their efficacy as treatments.

More than 25,000 seeds from the source related to earlier outbreaks, known to carry inoculum at around the one per cent level, were grown for nine weeks but none of the plants tested positive. Further seeds were produced from artificially inoculated plants, treated and then grown out, but produced no CLVd-positive seedlings. If seed transmission occurs, it is at less than the 0.5 per cent level.

The Food & Environment Research Agency provides a validated test for detecting CLVd in tomato seed. Seed can be screened for potato spindle tuber viroid infection at the same time.

Relevant publications

HDC Fact Sheet 09/06 Potato spindle tuber viroid in tomato and new viroid reports.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Has vertical farming passed a peak on the 'hype cycle'?

Has vertical farming passed a peak on the 'hype cycle'?

Several senior industry figures sounded a note of caution on the potential of urban farms at last week's GreenTech international trade show in Amsterdam (12-14 June).

How can growers benefit by supporting agroforestry?

How can growers benefit by supporting agroforestry?

Agroforestry has the potential to deliver on a range of policy objectives in England, according to a new report from the Woodland Trust and the Soil Association.

How should perceived shortcomings in Defra's farming policy plans be addressed?

How should perceived shortcomings in Defra's farming policy plans be addressed?

The Government needs to provide much more detail on its post-Brexit farming policy if its twin aims of increasing farm competitiveness and enhancing the environment are to be met, according to a new report published this week by the parliamentary Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive ranking of fruit producers by annual turnover. 

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon