Western U.S. Prepares For Plum Pox

The University of California (UC)-Davis Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center is organizing a two-day international meeting, Understanding and Preparing for the Threat of Plum Pox Virus Spreading to California and the Western States, to address a new threat to the Western U.S. stone fruit industry, Plum Pox Virus.

(Photo Credit: David Eddy)
(Photo Credit: David Eddy)

The meeting will be held in Giedt Hall at UC-Davis on Sept. 29-30, 2014. Visit the Fruit and Nut Center website for information and online registration.

Plum Pox Virus (PPV), also known as sharka, is an exotic invasive pathogen spread by aphids, which infects Prunus tree crops including plum, prune, cherry, almond, peach and apricot. The virus compromises tree health, causes premature fruit drop and reduces fruit quality. Infected fruit is not suitable for fresh market and most processed products.

PPV was identified in Europe in the early 20th century, and has rapidly spread worldwide since the late 1980s, likely due to the globalization of trade and travel. PPV is now present in all major fruit growing countries except the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

To date, there are six separate strains of PPV. Strain D is the only one found in North America. The central valleys of California are particularly vulnerable to this threat because of the high concentration of Prunus crops, and a lack of geographical barriers to the spread of the disease by insects.

The upcoming meeting is open to all members of the stone fruit industry interested in learning more about the threat posed by PPV, and the development of measures to manage the disease in California.

(Photo Credit: David Eddy)
(Photo Credit: David Eddy)

The goals of this meeting include:
• Update on the status and spread of PPV worldwide.
• Exchange ideas for strategies to be used in the event that PPV is introduced in the Western U.S.
• Promote awareness of educational and extension tools to provide information about the threat of PPV and its potential spread in the U.S.
• Identify research programs that could minimize the threat of PPV to the US stone fruit industry.
• Develop a response plan for PPV outbreak in California.
• Explore funding opportunities to support projects and actions identified during the conference.

For more information, contact registration coordinator Penny Stockdale (pastockdale@ucdavis.edu, 530-752-7672), or the associate director of the Fruit and Nut Center, Brooke Jacobs (fruitsandnuts@ucdavis.edu, 530-754-9708).

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