Tomatoes and peppers affected by the ToBRFV virus in Sicily

It affects tomatoes and peppers and can make plants sterile: it is the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus, the virus that is scaring Sicily.

It affects tomatoes and peppers, decimates crops and can make plants sterile: it is the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virusthe ToBRFV, the virus that is frightening Sicily and the province of Ragusa. Wrinkled and brown spots on the leaves the main feature from which it takes its name. What does it all mean? That this latest plant disease will be obviated with "specific phytosanitary treatments".

At least this is how the decree of the Sicilian Region states, which speaks of "aqueous solutions of sodium hypochlorite from 0,025% to 0,1% of active chlorine or 10% trisodium phosphate".

A bit like with Xylella in Puglia, where between desiccation caused by the killer bacterium and precautionary eradications, hectares and hectares of territory have been devastated, here too will there be the risk of definitively losing fundamental crops?

 “The 'plague' caused by ToBRFV puts at risk the tomato and pepper crops of the transformed belt”, say in a note the producers of the Doses, South East Sicily Fruit and Vegetable District, already bent by the rapid spread of the virus for months now.

The virus characterizes leaves with brown wrinkled spots or fruits with yellow or brown spots, deformities and regular ripening, but the symptoms can vary depending on the cultivar, climate and seasonality. It is highly infectious and can damage between 30 and 70% of tomato and pepper plants and is easily transmitted by contact and can even survive on surfaces.

© Observatory for Plant Diseases

The measures of the Sicilian Region

To counter the spread and eradicate the ToBRFV virus, the Regional Phytosanitary Service has issued a decree that provides for the application of precise mandatory phytosanitary measures. Measures concerning the plants, seeds and mother plants of tomatoes and peppers (non-resistant varieties), which among other things will be an expense "of the owners or tenants - the decree reads -, for whatever reason, of the land and areas where the aforementioned plants are present, with confirmed presence of the harmful organism ".

Something is wrong, the most experienced thunders. Only last year, in 2020, Ansens, the French agency for food, environment and health at work, had defined the ToBRFV as "particularly dangerous" and above all said that for the moment there are no certain solutions. and final.

The virus, said Anses, "can be transmitted by infected seeds, plants and fruits, as well as by simple contact, it survives for a long time without losing its contagious power and today there are no treatments or resistant varieties". All crops are potentially exposed, from large greenhouses to small gardens, and for this reason the Agency has formulated a series of recommendations to avoid the spread of the virus: implementation of a national surveillance and detection plan, uprooting and destruction by contaminated plant fires.

Sources: Doses - South East Sicily Fruit and Vegetable District / Sicilian Region Decree / ANSES

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