Viral disease is spread unknowingly by your workers a significant vector for the transmission of to your crops.
There are a large host of viruses that specifically infect plants, causing death and viral disease in many crops with a very diverse set of symptoms. These viruses are infectious agents that are so small, it is simply not possible to view them with an optical microscope. These viruses need a method of transportation or transmission (a vector) to cause infections, as they remain completely inactive while they are outside of their chosen host. These viral disease will usually cause great losses in your fields, either through a reduction in the growth potential of the plant, a reduction of photosynthetic capability, a necrosis or discoloration in the developing fruit, or by outright killing your plants.
Hand labor is a vector of transmission for various pathogens. Using HORTOMALLAS® trellis netting reduces the amount of needed labor, which in turn reduces the incidence of viral disease that affect your crops.
In 1898, Professor Martinus W. Beijerinck of the Delft University of Technology isolated and studied what he called “contagium vivum fluidum”, or a contagious living fluid, which is now known as a virus. Once it was confirmed that “something” was causing the spread of disease in the fluid extracted from diseased plants, several studies were performed to identify exactly what it was that was in this fluid. The first few of these studies found that what was causing the diseases was much smaller than a bacteria, and unlike bacteria, they could not multiply without a living host (that host can be either unicellular or pluricellular). It took over 50 years of scientific studies to eventually prove that these “infectious agents” were actually very different from bacteria and were almost entirely composed of infectious genetic material and some structural proteins.
The Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) holds the distinction of being the very first virus to be identified as it was the “infectious fluid” that Professor Beijerinck had identified. This virus causes a disease whose symptoms include: yellow mottled leaves, necrosis, stunted growth, and a rolling of the leaves. The presence or absence of these symptoms depends not only on how far along the viral disease has developed in the plant, but also in the growth stage that the infected plant is in. While the virus primarily affects tobacco plants, it can also affect other plants, the majority of which are also Solanaceae, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Some other related viruses that are transmitted through mechanical transmission are the Tobacco Ringspot Virus (TRSV), the Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV), and the Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus (TBSV).
Inside the list of good agricultural practices, there are certain methods that make it significantly easier to either prevent or slow down the spread of viral disease in your crops. One particular practice that has been significantly improved over time are the methods of tutoring your plants. The goal of a tutoring system is to help your plants grow properly, improving the quality of the fruit they produce. The traditional method of tutoring your plants involves using raffia thread to hold your plants, and while this has worked well, it is also a very labor intensive practice. The most recent development in tutoring systems is provided by HORTOMALLAS® in the form of polypropylene netting. This netting, contrary to the raffia system, will considerably reduce the amount of handling that your plants will need from your workers, directly reducing the chance that a virus might piggyback on their hands or tools, significantly lowering the spread of disease in your crops due to mechanical transmission. The HORTOMALLAS® crop netting also gives your crops better aeration, and improved solar access. As a side benefit, the crop netting will also improve the quality of the growing fruit by not allowing it to touch the humid ground, avoiding all the problems associated with fruit-soil contact such as stained or infected fruit.
1.- Scholthof, K.-B.G. 2001. The beginning of Virology…time marches on. The Plant Health Instructor. APS. http://www.apsnet.org/publications/apsnetfeatures/Pages/beginningofvirology.aspx revisado en internet 30/09/2015 12:35 pm.
2.- Gergerich, R.C., and V. V. Dolja. 2006. Introducción a los Virus Vegetales, el Enemigo Invisible. Trans. Silvina L. Giammaría. 2008 The Plant Health Instructor. http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/pathogengroups/pages/plantvirusesespanol.aspx revisado 01/10/2015 1:20pm.
3.- Scholthof, K-B.G. 2000. Tobacco mosaic virus. The Plant Health Instructo APS. http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/viruses/Pages/TobaccoMosaic.aspx revisado 01/10/2015 2:20pm.
4.- Gómez, J., R.; Hernandez, F., L.; Osuna. G., J. A. y Martínez, B., M. 2013. Virus fitopatógenos que afectan al cultivo de tomate en el estado de Nayarit. INIFAP, CIRPAC. Campo Experimental Santiago Ixcuintla. Folleto Técnico Núm. 25, Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit, México.