Introduction to Plant Viruses

Plant viruses attack only plants. They are harmless to all other organisms.
Prevention is the only economic control for virus diseases.
Viruses consist of a nucleic acid core and a protein coat.

All Plant Viruses have these Common Properties

Some plant viruses have a very limited host range and others attack numerous species.

Transmission of Plant Viruses

Plant viruses vary in their mode of transmission. Usually only a single mode of transmission is important, but some viruses are transmitted by more than one mode.

Detection of Plant Viruses

Until a virus is detected, its presence is not known. Nearly everyone who received an early polio vaccine is now a carrier of Simian Virus 40.(SV40). The monkey cells used to grow that vaccine were infected by SV40 but no one knew SV40 existed.

Many plants are carriers of plant viruses but show no disease. The yield might be reduced but that would not be visbible either.

The methods for detecting plant viruses include:

Creating Virus-free Clones of Plants

It is not possible to cure a plant of viruses, but one of the following methods may give a virus free clone. Since the "virus-free" plant might contain a virus you did not know about, it is proper to call them virus-tested or virus indexed plants.

Once you have a virus-indexed plant keep it in a screened cage where it can't be infected via a vector. Alternatively, keep it on sugar agar in a sterile glass jar under fluorescent light at a low temperature where it grows slowly. Use scions from this microplant to grow plants for the field.

Precautions to keep your Plants Virus-free

Additional Virus Problems

Other Indiana Biolab Pages about Plant Viruses

Indiana biolab has worked a few decades with plant viruses--especially since 1986. The pages below offer detailed information about viruses of specific plants.

Important Websites about Plant Viruses - lists plant viruses. - lists the species of plant which are susceptible to the virus you choose.

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you only have a few vines, you can consider pruning them on different days using a stainless steel knife, chlorox and soap. Remember your hands will carry the virus. You could wear rubber gloves and wash them in chlorox and soap. Drying will kill some viruses but not all.