At this moment, everybody in the world is under the spell of the coronavirus outbreak which has already caused many casualties and economic damage. An invisible enemy is disturbing daily life all over the globe and everybody is making every effort to control this pandemic. However, viruses are a part of human and plant history.
We have recently seen an increase in virus pressure driven by rising global temperatures and population growth. The global human population is expected to increase from approximately 6.5 billion in 2008 to approximately 9.2 billion by 2050 (UNDP 2008). Another driver of the virus outbreak is the greater concentration of the population is urban communities. The spread of viruses is also unprecedented due to the increase in intercontinental traffic.
We have also witnessed these different parameters in the horticulture in the last 10 years. The upscaling and consolidation of greenhouses has made the sector more susceptible to outbreaks and the rapid transmission and spread of diseases.
A good example is the outbreak of the ToBRFv virus. Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a Tobamovirus that was first observed in 2014 and 2015 on tomato plants in Israel and Jordan causing discolorations and deformation of leaves and fruits. Since the first description, different countries are infected.
In Holland it was first diagnosed in 2018 and since then caused a big economic loss for the tomato growers. At the fruit production site, strict hygiene measures are applied including restricting access, disinfection or replacement of clothing, machines, equipment, surfaces and packaging material.
This is the same strategy that we are now using the combat the corona virus. Also with the ToBRFv virus you have to test constantly to verify that you hygiene strategy is working and that there is an absence of the virus in the crop.
"One lesson that is learned is that a good biosecurity plan is essential."
The idea that you can end this problem once and for all is an illusion. At Intrahorti we are constantly busy with developing effective biocides and cleaning agents that reduce the infection pressure and help the grower.
By Carly Vulders - Director R&D