Project Goals

Long-term Goal
Whitefly-transmitted Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) has been arguably one of the most important constraints to tomato production in the southeastern USA.  Fortunately, over the last decade, significant research progress has been made towards the management of TYLCV. Currently, a number of management options are available.  Despite the availability of effective management options, TYLCV continues to cause losses in millions of dollars each year due to grower misconceptions and lack of adoption of effective management tactics.  Thus there is an urgent need to address these issues and improve the area-wide implementation of effective TYLCV management tactics.  Our long-term goal is to ensure the implementation of an area- wide integrated TYLCV management plan leading to sustainable TYLCV management in the southeastern United States as well as in other areas where this virus has recently been introduced such as Texas and California.

Overall Goal and Approach

To mobilize an effort to effectively use the available tools, revaluate old tactics, develop novel tactics in combination with ecological approaches, and formulate a sustainable integrated pest management strategy for TYLCV.  Overlapping tomato crops are believed to be one of the most important reasons for reoccurring

TYLCV epidemics. We intend to demonstrate the importance of a phenological gap in tomato production for TYLCV management. A TYLCV-host free period should be effective throughout the region but has not been adopted.  Growers have long assumed that weed flora serve as TYLCV inoculum sources; however, extensive testing of weed flora did not support that hypothesis. Our goal is to evaluate other inoculum sources including tomato transplants. In addition, we would like to improve the adoption of TYLCV-resistant cultivars after carefully evaluating their horticultural traits.

 Specific Objectives:

  • Evaluate selected ecological factors and inoculum sources and determine their relative contribution to TYLCV epidemics.
  • Assess the pre- and post-harvest horticultural traits of recently developed TYLCV resistant cultivars in integration with other management options.
  • Demonstrate the usefulness of tactics identified in Objectives 1 and 2 through demonstration trials.
  • Develop and deploy a communication interface among growers, stakeholders, and scientists through web-based and conventional outreach techniques.