Effects of a Potato Spindle Tuber Viroid Tomato Strain on the Symptoms, Biomass, and Yields of Classical Indicator and Currently Grown Potato and Tomato Cultivars Academic Article uri icon


  • The Chittering strain of potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) infects solanaceous crops and wild plants in the subtropical Gascoyne Horticultural District of Western Australia. Classical PSTVd indicator hosts tomato cultivar Rutgers (R) and potato cultivar Russet Burbank (RB) and currently widely grown tomato cultivars Petula (P) and Swanson (S) and potato cultivars Nadine (N) and Atlantic (A) were inoculated with this strain to study its pathogenicity, quantify fruit or tuber yield losses, and establish whether tomato strains might threaten potato production. In potato foliage, infection caused spindly stems, an upright growth habit, leaves with ruffled margins and reduced size, and upward rolling and twisting of terminal leaflets (RB, A, and N); axillary shoot proliferation (A); severe plant stunting (N and RB); and necrotic spotting of petioles and stems (RB). Tubers from infected plants were tiny (N) or small and “spindle shaped” with (A) or without (RB) cracking. Potato foliage dry weight biomass was decreased by 30 to 44% in A and RB and 37% in N, whereas tuber yield was diminished by 50 to 89% in A, 69 to 71% in RB, and 90% in N. In tomato foliage, infection caused epinasty and rugosity in apical leaves, leaf chlorosis, and plant stunting (S, P, and N); cupped leaves (S and P); and reduced leaf size, flower abortion, and necrosis of midribs, petioles, and stems (R). Mean tomato fruit size was greatly decreased in all three cultivars. Tomato foliage dry weight biomass was diminished by 40 to 53% (P), 42% (S), and 37 to 51% (R). Tomato fruit yield was decreased by 60 to 76% (P), 52% (S), and 64 to 89% (R), respectively. Thus, the tomato strain studied was highly pathogenic to classical indicator and representative current tomato and potato cultivars, causing major losses in fruit and tuber yields. Tomato PSTVd strains, therefore, pose a threat to tomato and potato industries worldwide.


  • Mackie, Alison E
  • Barbetti, Martin J
  • Rodoni, Brendan
  • McKirdy, Simon J
  • Jones, Roger AC

publication date

  • 2019