Genome analysis of melon necrotic spot virus incursions and seed interceptions in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Melon necrotic spot virus (MNSV) was detected in field-grown Cucumis melo (rockmelon) and Citrullus lanatus (watermelon) plants in the Sunraysia district of New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, in 2012, 2013, and 2016, and in two watermelon seed lots tested at the Australian border in 2016. High-throughput sequencing was used to generate near full-length genomes of six isolates detected during the incursions and seed testing. Phylogenetic analysis of the genomes suggests that there have been at least two incursions of MNSV into Australia and none of the field isolates were the same as the isolates detected in seeds. The analysis indicated that one watermelon field sample (L10), the Victorian rockmelon field sample, and two seed interception samples may have European origins. The results showed that two isolates (L8 and L9) from watermelon were divergent from the type MNSV strain (MNSV-GA, D12536.2) and had 99% nucleotide identity to two MNSV isolates from human stool collected in the United States (KY124135.1, KY124136.1). These isolates also had high nucleotide pairwise identity (96%) to a partial sequence from a Spanish MNSV isolate (KT962848.1). The analysis supported the identification of three previously described MNSV genotype groups: EU-LA, Japan melon, and Japan watermelon. To account for the greater diversity of hosts and geographic regions of the MNSV isolates used in this study, it is suggested that the genotype groups EU-LA, Japan melon, and Japan watermelon be renamed to groups I, II, and III, respectively. The divergent isolates L8 and L9 from this study and the stool isolates from the United States formed a fourth genotype group, group IV. Soil collected from the site of the Victorian rockmelon MNSV outbreak was found to contain viable MNSV and the virus vector, a chytrid fungus, Olpidium bornovanus (Sahtiyanci) Karling, 18 months after the initial MNSV detection. This is a first report of O. bornovanus from soil sampled from an MNSV-contaminated site in Australia.

publication date

  • 2020