Study finds oilseed rape crops host brassica virus

Oilseed rape crops serve as a "massive reservoir" of the turnip yellows virus (TuYV) that seriously reduces yields of vegetable brassicas, according to University of Warwick researcher Dr John Walsh.

Working with Allium & Brassica Agronomy, Walsh found levels of up to 60 per cent infection of TuYV in some winter cauliflower crops and 100 per cent in a Lincolnshire Brussels sprout trial.

Though it has few obvious symptoms in plants, the virus reduces yield in Brussels sprouts by 22-65 per cent depending on variety and by 16-36 per cent in cabbages, he added.

Walsh is assessing the efficacy of insecticides against its main vector, the aphid Myzus persicae. But he said: "There is a need for more sustainable control methods. Resistance has been detected in the wild relatives of brassicas and we are now looking for collaborators to exploit this."

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