The decline of cultivated strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duchesne ex Rozier; Rosaceae) observed in the province of Quebec, Canada, between 2012 and 2014 was mostly caused by persistent viruses: strawberry mild yellow edge virus (SMYEV) (Potexvirus; Alphaflexiviridae) and strawberry crinkle virus (SCV) (Cytorhabdovirus; Rhabdoviridae); and semi-persistent viruses: strawberry mottle virus (SmoV) (Secoviridae), strawberry vein banding virus (SVBV) (Caulimovirus; Caulimoviridae), and strawberry pallidosis virus (SPaV) (Crinivirus: Closteroviridae) transmitted by insect vectors. The objective of this study was to determine the sources of viral contamination in commercial strawberry fields in Quebec. Specifically, we wished to 1) determine the prevalence of persistent viruses in winged strawberry aphid Chaetosiphon fragaefolii (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) specimens captured; 2) determine the prevalence of all viruses in wild strawberry Fragaria virginiana Miller plants near commercial plantings; and 3) evaluate the viral contamination of strawberry transplants obtained from nurseries and tested before and after planting in commercial strawberry fields. Results indicated high percentage (38%) of the aphids (n = 205) and high percentage (67%) of F. virginiana patches (n = 12) were infected by strawberry viruses. Ultimately, our results showed a low percentage (5%) of the plants from various nurseries (n = 56) were infected before planting, whereas a third (29%) of the healthy exposed plants in the fields (n = 96) became rapidly infected by insect vectors within a year of having been planted. This study provides significant insights on the relative importance of the various sources of contamination in Quebec strawberry fields: C. fragaefolii versus F. virginiana versus nurseries versus post-nursery infections through exposure to virus-carrying insects.
reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction detection