Biobest helps battle tomato virus

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Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Biobest helps battle tomato virus

Authorities in Hungary, Austria and Poland approve use of PMV-01 in fight against Pepino Mosaic Virus

Biobest helps battle tomato virus

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Authorities in Austria, Hungary and Poland have officially approved the use of Biobest product PMV-01, a product designed to fight the Pepino Mosaic Virus in tomatoes.

Biobest, in collaboration with its local distribution partners, has said that it will commercialise the first and only authorised solution against this important viral disease.

Since its first appearance in the late nineties, the Pepino Mosaic Virus (PepMV) has spread widely, causing damage in tomato greenhouses worldwide. A severe infestation by PepMV often results in losses of up to 30 per cent, caused by both quality and production losses.

PMV-01 can be used year-round and in all tomato growing systems. One application right after planting suffices to protect the crop against PepMV during the rest of the season, Biobest explained.

It is produced in Belgium by De Ceuster Meststoffen NV (DCM) and is used in the context of a complete vaccination strategy.

This vaccination strategy is the result of ten years of scientific research in Belgium and other European countries. First commercial experiences date back to 2011 (Belgium) and 2012 (The Netherlands) under special authorisations for emergency use.

The product is already fully registered and available in several countries, with more than 3,500ha of commercial greenhouse tomatoes already vaccinated with PMV-01 – with "excellent results", Biobest said.

DCM and Biobest kick-started their collaboration on PMV-01 two years ago. In 2015, DCM granted Biobetter Maroc (Biobest’s subsidiary in Morocco) the exclusive distribution rights of PMV-01 in Morocco with the 2015 and 2016 seasons in Morocco proving a success.

While DCM sells PMV-01 directly to growers in certain markets, Biobest and DCM have now decided to extend their collaboration in Poland, Hungary and Austria.

PepMV is a highly infectious RNA-virus and is easily spread mechanically. In a non-vaccinated greenhouse, one infected plant will soon contaminate the whole greenhouse.

Strict hygiene measures can reduce the disease pressure, but cannot guarantee the complete exclusion of all sources of contamination with PepMV.

“This is where PMV-01 comes in," explained Lieselotte De Bruyne, product manager at Biobest Belgium. "The vaccination is based on cross-protection with a mild PepMV isolate at the start of the season. Vaccination activates the plant immune system.

"Once the vaccine is established, other – more aggressive viral isolates – are no longer able to infect the plant," she continued. "The vaccination is accompanied by rigorous analyses before and after vaccination to guarantee optimal protection of the plants. Hygiene measures remain important as well, to prevent contamination with aggressive PepMV isolates before full protection is reached. Good hygiene also helps to prevent other bacterial and fungal diseases.”

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