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New testing method available for Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV)

03/11/2020 - François-Xavier Branthôme
Prime Diagnostics, part of Wageningen University & Research, has developed a new antiserum that can specifically detect Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) in infected plant material and seeds.
Testing of plant material for contamination with ToBRFV
The antiserum is intended to be used in DAS-ELISA, a testing method commonly used by inspection services and the quality laboratories of seed companies. This test can help seed producers and breeders of vegetable crops worldwide to obtain certainty about the health of seed lots, young plants, and starting materials. The antiserum specifically reacts with ToBRFV and shows low reactivity to other Tobamoviruses of tomato and pepper. The antiserum is now available for use in routine quality control.

Symptoms of ToBRFV in tomatoes
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a virus that can occur in tomatoes, bell peppers, and chili peppers. It is closely related to Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) and Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV): all three viruses belong to the tobamovirus group. However, ToBRFV is able to break through current resistance in tomatoes against TMV and ToMV. Tobamoviruses are highly contagious and are easily spread through contact (mechanically transitions routes). In addition, these viruses are transmissible to young plants via seed. ToBRFV can also infect Petunia, Black Nightshade and Chenopodium species. ToBRFV is a regulated quarantine organism in the European Union since 1 October 2019 and strict requirements have been imposed on seed lots since the end of August 2020.

US: NSHS announces new ToBRFV testing protocol for tomato and pepper
 Testing tomato and pepper seeds for Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) has become an urgent seed industry need because of import requirements in the European Union (EU) and many other countries.
On Oct 28, the NSHS Policies and Procedures Board approved a quantitative RT-PCR method for the detection of ToBRFV in tomato and pepper seeds, designated NSHS Method So 7.1.

NSHS-accredited labs wishing to add this method to their existing seed health testing accreditation should complete the Expansion of Scope application that can be downloaded from the NSHS website. A remote audit will be required once the application is received.
This method is aligned with requirements for exporting tomato and pepper seeds to the EU; other importing countries may have other requirements.

Source:, NSHS
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