Onion yellow dwarf virus
Institute of Phytopathological Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
- Described by Melhus et al. (1929).
- Selected synonyms
- Allium virus 1 (Rev. appl. Mycol. 17: 52)
- Marmor cepae (Rev. appl. Mycol. 28: 512)
- A virus with flexuous filamentous particles c. 775 nm long. Readily transmitted by
several aphid species in the non-persistent manner and by inoculation of sap, mainly to certain
Allium species. It is probably distributed world-wide.
Causes onion yellow dwarf: stunting of first-year onion (Allium cepa
) plants, with the
leaves showing irregular yellow striping to almost complete yellowing, downward curling, flattening,
crinkling and flaccidity (Fig.2
) (Melhus et al., 1929
; Henderson, 1935
). Also causes
deterioration during storage and premature sprouting of onion bulbs (Bremer, 1937
). In onion
seed plants, the virus causes striping, curling and distortion of flower stems (Fig.3
in the number of flowers and seeds, and impairment of seed quality (Härdtl, 1965
). In shallot
) leaf symptoms are similar, but leaf curling and plant stunting is often more
) (Brierley & Smith, 1946
; Henderson, 1953
). Recurrent reports of natural infection
of garlic (A. sativum
) and leek (A. porrum
) were mainly based on visual observation.
In these crops other viruses may play a major role (see Relationships and Notes).
Reported from most countries where onions and shallots are cultivated.
Host Range and Symptomatology
Besides the species mentioned above, the virus has been isolated from naturally infected
perennial tree, top or topset onion (A. cepa
) and from garlic (A.
) (Brierley & Smith, 1944b
). It was also said to occur in multiplier onion
) (Brierley & Smith, 1944a
) and in Welsh onion
) (Costa et al., 1971
), although others found this species to be
immune (e.g. Brierley & Smith, 1946
). It has also been detected in some ornamental Allium
spp. (D. H. M. van Slogteren, personal communication) and some other Allium
). Narcissus pseudonarcissus
was found naturally infected (Brierley
& Smith, 1946
), and N. tazetta orientalis
and the true jonquil N. odorus regulosus
showed symptoms after inoculation (Henderson, 1935
), and the virus could be recovered from
them (Anon., 1932
). Recently, local lesions were obtained with some isolates in Chenopodium
and C. quinoa
. With common isolates from onion, no symptoms or only slight
symptoms were produced in Allium porrum
and the virus could only rarely be recovered (L. Bos
and N. Huijberts, unpublished data).
- Diagnostic species
- Allium cepa (onion). Yellow striping and leaf curling, plant stunting; most cultivars
(except some Spanish-type varieties) are susceptible.
- Allium ascalonicum (shallot). Striping and curling of leaves, severe plant stunting.
- Propagation species
- Allium cepa is easily infected. Roots, fleshy leaves, floral parts and pollen contain the
virus, but basal portions of green leaves from plants 10-20 days after inoculation proved to be
the best source of virus for mechanical transmission (Louie & Lorbeer, 1966).
- Assay species
- No suitable quantitative assay host is known. Chenopodium species have not yet been
There seems to be some variation among isolates. In the USA a shallot isolate was readily
transmitted to onion and infected all 27 onion cultivars tested, including Spanish-type cultivars
immune to isolates from onion, garlic and narcissus (Brierley & Smith, 1946
); the garlic and
narcissus isolates were less infectious to onion and produced milder symptoms.
Transmission by Vectors
Several aphid species have transmitted the virus experimentally (Drake, Tate & Harris,
; Tate, 1940
; Heinze, 1952
), and may do so in the field when briefly probing in passing,
because none is prevalent on Allium
crops (Tate, 1940
). Acquisition and inoculation is
in short feeding times and aphid infectivity is rapidly lost (Drake et al., 1933
may spread the virus among onion bulbs and sprouts during storage (Szirmai, 1958
No experimental transmission by various other insects (Tate, 1940
Transmission through Seed
Not detected in onion by several authors, although the virus was found in pollen of infected
onion plants (Louie & Lorbeer, 1966
). Seed transmission seems improbable because the disease
was completely controlled in New Zealand by introducing an Allium
-free period (Chamberlain
& Baylis, 1948
); however, Härdtl (1962
) reported 6-29 % seed transmission in onion
cv. Stuttgarter Riesen on the basis of field observations.
Transmission by Dodder
SerologyJermoljev et al. (1962)
prepared specific antisera (titres 1/4 and 1/8) which they used
to test onion cultivars for infection. After partial purification, D. H. M. van Slogteren (personal
communication) prepared an antiserum with a titre of 1/320. D. Z. Maat (unpublished data) recently
prepared an antiserum to a well-studied isolate, with a titre of 1/1024.
The onion virus belongs to the potyvirus group
, and de Wijs (1973)
, using van Slogterens antiserum,
detected a serological relationship to pepper veinal mottle virus
. The virus causing yellow stripe of
; Verhoyen & Horvat, 1973
; Verhoyen, 1973
) is now known to differ from onion
yellow dwarf virus. The onion virus is not, or poorly, infectious to leek and the leek virus behaves
similarly in onion. The leek virus more consistently produces local lesions in Chenopodium
and C. quinoa
, and the two viruses are only distantly related serologically
(antisera to the leek and onion viruses with titres of 1/4096 and 1/1024, respectively, reacted with
the heterologous antigens only at dilutions up to 1/4 and 1/16, respectively) (D. Z. Maat,
Stability in Sap
The thermal inactivation point is between 60 and 65°C. The dilution end-point is
and longevity in vitro
is 2-3 days. The virus withstands
drying and storage in leaves over CaCl2
at 4°C (L. Bos, unpublished data).
Presence of mucilage in sap from Allium
spp. impeded early attempts to isolate the virus.
A method developed by Huttinga (1975)
for purification of the leek virus also proved successful for
the onion yellow dwarf virus from onion (it should be noted that the chromatography is of special
Grind 100 g tissue in 500 ml 0.1 M Tris buffer (adjusted to pH 9 with thioglycollic acid) together
with 20 ml chloroform, 20 ml carbon tetrachloride and 10 ml diethyl ether. Centrifuge for 10 min
at 4000 g. Centrifuge the supernatant fluid for 1.5 h at 26,500 g and
resuspend pellets in 50 ml 0.1 M Tris-HCl buffer pH 9. After 2 h at 4°C filter the suspension
through filter paper in Buchner funnel; then pass the filtrate through the Sephadex G-200 column
with the above buffer containing 4 x 10-4 M NaN3, using a peristaltic pump allowing a
flow rate of 4.6 ml/h/cm2. Pool the virus-containing ultraviolet-absorbing fractions
and concentrate by centrifuging for 1.75 h at 47,000 g. Resuspend the pellets, and
centrifuge through a 10-40% sucrose density-gradient for 2 h at 25,000 rev/min.
Properties of Particles
Particles are flexuous filaments, 722 nm long and 16 nm in diameter (Schmidt & Schmelzer,
), or over 800 nm long (L. Bos & N. Huijberts, unpublished data). They can easily be detected
in extracts of diseased onion leaves chopped in phosphotungstic acid, and often occur in aggregates
Relations with Cells and Tissues
Cells in epidermal strips from onion may contain one, two
or sometimes more round or slightly elongate inclusions visible by light microscopy (Fig.4
inclusions can be easily confused with the nuclei (Tate, 1935
) but consist of numerous rod-like
structures (McWhorter, 1937
). In ultrathin sections of diseased onion leaves pinwheels, scrolls
and virus particles associated with vesicles can be observed with the electron microscope
From recent partially published work it appears that several viruses, including some
that are soil-borne, naturally infect Allium
species. Onion yellow dwarf virus and leek
yellow stripe virus
that can be easily diagnosed by their particle morphology and
characteristic inclusion bodies. They differ from each other in host range and antigenic
specificity. Other Allium
viruses inadequately or incompletely described so far, are garlic
mosaic virus, tentatively ascribed to the carlavirus group
, and a shallot latent virus
to the same group (Bos, 1972
). Garlic mosaic virus (Messiaen & Arnoux, 1960
; Marrou &
; Messiaen & Marrou, 1965
) also produces local lesions in C.
and C. quinoa,
but is difficult to transmit to onion, in which it
produces mild symptoms; similarly, onion yellow dwarf virus proved poorly infectious to garlic
(Marrou & Fauvel, 1964
). Potyvirus like particles (probably onion yellow dwarf virus) may
also occur naturally in garlic plants (Cadilhac, Quiot & Leroux, 1975
). The onion mosaic
virus reported in Russia (Andrejev, 1937
; Rischkov & Vovk, 1937
) and prevalent there
), has been associated with flexuous particles 675 nm long (Prozenko &
; Razvjazkina, 1971
) and spherical ones, 200 nm in diameter (Prozenko &
) and with transmission by aphids and by mites.
- Andrejev, Sb. nauchno-issled. Rab. azovo-chernomorsk. sel'. -khoz. Inst. 5: 125, 1937.
- Anonymous, Rep. Iowa agric. Exp. Stn 1932: 32, 1932.
- Bos, Gewasbescherming 3: 81, 1972.
- Bremer, Phytopath. Z. 10: 79, 1937.
- Brierley & Smith, Phytopathology 34: 506, 1944a.
- Brierley & Smith, Phytopathology 34: 990, 1944b.
- Brierley & Smith, Phytopathology 36: 292, 1946.
- Cadilhac, Quiot & Leroux, Abstr. 2nd int. Conf Progr. Probl. Vegetable Virus Res. Avignon-Montfavet, 1975: 29, 1975.
- Chamberlain & Baylis, N.Z. Jl Sci. Technol. A 29: 300, 1948.
- Costa, Costa, Nagai & Kitajima, Biológico 37: 157, 1971.
- De Wijs, Neth. J. Pl. Path. 79: 189, 1973.
- Drake, Tate & Harris, J. econ. Ent. 26: 841, 1933.
- Edwardson, Monogr. Ser. Fla agric. Exp. Stn 4: 398 pp., 1974.
- Härdtl, Z. PflKrankh. Pflpath. PflSchutz 69: 587, 1962.
- Härdtl, Gartenbauwissenshaft 30: 347, 1965.
- Härdtl, Z. PflKrankh. PflPath. PflSchutz 79: 694, 1972.
- Havránek, Proc. 7th Conf. Czechosl. Pl. Virol. High Tatras, 1971: 133, 1973.
- Heinze, Z. PflKrankh. PflPath. PflSchutz 59: 3, 1952.
- Henderson, Res. Bull. Iowa agric. Exp. Stn 188: 209, 1935.
- Henderson, Pl. Path. 2: 130, 1953.
- Huttinga, Neth. J. Pl. Path. 81: 81, 1975.
- Jermoljev, Cech, Pozdena & Chod, Sb. csl. Akad. zeméd. Ved 35: 551, 1962.
- Louie & Lorbeer, Phytopathology 56: 1020, 1966.
- Marrou & Fauvel, Rapp. Activ. Inst. natn. Rech. agron.: 32, 1963.
- Marrou & Fauvel, Rapp. Activ. Inst. natn. Rech. agron.: 62, 1964.
- McWhorter, Phytopathology 27: 1627, 1937.
- Melhus, Reddy, Henderson & Vestal, Phytopathology 19: 73, 1929.
- Messiaen & Arnoux, Étud. Virol. appl. INRA 1: 29, 1960.
- Messiaen & Marrou, C. r. 1e Journées Phytiat. Phytopharm, circum-médit., Marseille. 1965: 204, 1965.
- Prozenko & Legunkova, Mikrobiologiya 30: 165, 1961.
- Razvjazkina, TagBer. dt. Akad. LandwWiss. Berl. 115: 69, 1971.
- Rischkov & Vovk, Dokl. Akad. Nauk SSSR 16: 69, 1937.
- Schmidt & Schmelzer, Phytopath. Z. 50: 191, 1964.
- Szirmai, Novenytermelés 7: 63, 1958.
- Tate, Iowa St. Coll. J. Sci. 9: 677, 1935.
- Tate, Iowa St. Coll. J. Sci. 14: 267, 1940.
- Verhoyen, Parasitica 29: 3, 1973.
- Verhoyen & Horvat, Parasitica 29: 16, 1973.
Shallot, (left) healthy, (right) naturally infected, showing stunting,
yellow striping and leaf curling.
Naturally infected onion showing yellow striping, downcurling and flaccidity of leaves.
Curling and distortion of onion flower stems.
Inclusions (I) in onion leaf epidermis; N = nucleus. Bar represents 20 µm.
Virus particles in crude sap of onion leaf, negatively stained in phosphotungstate.
Bar represents 500 nm.