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Project News 06.2004

A new whitefly species emerges as
a pest of cereals in Central America

Projects :: Whiteflies as pests in tropical highlands
:: Whiteflies as virus vectors in mixed cropping systems
:: Whiteflies as vectors and pests in cassava

Whiteflies as vectors of viruses in mixed cropping systems in the tropical lowlands of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean

Geographical focus :: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba Start date :: January 1, 1997
Completion date :: December 31, 2000
Project Name :: Sustainable Integrated Management of Whiteflies as Pests and Vectors of Plant Viruses in the Tropics
Project Leader :: Dr. Pamela Anderson
Subproject Name :: Whiteflies as vectors of viruses in legumes and mixed cropping systems in the tropical lowlands of Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean
Subproject Description :: The Latin American regional literature is replete with reports of epidemics believed to be caused by Bemisia-transmitted viruses. However, quantitative data are scarce and variable. The apparent lack of quantitative data (e.g. Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador) does not indicate the absence of whitefly-transmitted geminivirus epidemics, but rather that data have not been collected. The data which do exist repeatedly report epidemics in beans, tomatoes, peppers and melons, suggesting that these crops are the most seriously affected, often by devastating epidemics, on a regional level.

These data also appear to suggest that within countries epidemic "hot spots" for different crops are geographically distinct. This may reflect different cropping patterns, or may be an artifact of partial data. It is necessary to conduct a coordinated and systematic survey of disease incidence and yield losses and to estimate economic losses.

The best example that we have of an attempt to describe a geminivirus disease, in Latin America, is the collective work on Bean golden mosaic virus -BGMV (Morales, 1994). For 11 countries in Latin America, maps are presented depicting the state-of-knowledge on spatial distribution of BGMV.

Accompanying texts provide additional detail on the temporal patterns of Bean golden mosaic virus, i.e. when during the year the epidemics seem to be most severe. Even in this best-documented case, existing descriptive information is still quite incomplete, and analysis is lacking.

The geminiviruses identified, to-date, from beans, tomatoes, and peppers in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean from beans, tomatoes, and peppers are 8:
  • BCaMV - Bean calico mosaic virus
  • BGMV - Bean golden mosaic virus
  • BDMV - Bean dwarf mosaic virus
  • TYLCV - Tomato yellow leaf curl virus
  • TLCV - Tomato leaf crumple virus
  • TPV - Texas pepper virus
  • TYMV - Tomato yellow mottle virus
  • PHV - Pepper Huasteco virus
In addition to BGMV, which has been identified in Central America since the mid-1970's, Bean calico mosaic virus (BCaMV) has been identified from Mexico (Loniello et al., 1992), and Bean dwarf mosaic virus (BDMV) has recently been identified from Nicaragua (Zamora, 1996). Our knowledge on the geminiviruses infecting tomatoes and peppers in the region has increased dramatically in the past five years. Tomato geminiviruses, distinct from those already named and accepted by the International Committee on Virus Taxonomy (ICTV), have been identified from tomatoes in Central America. These geminiviruses have been sequenced but have not yet been named (Maxwell, 1995), and are referred to as tomato geminivirus I and tomato geminivirus II. And, although geminiviruses have been detected in cucurbits in Guatemala (Alvarado et al., 1993; Moran, 1995), Honduras (Valdivia, Perring & Polston, cited in Caballero & Rueda, 1993), and Nicaragua (J. K. Brown & P. K. Anderson, unpublished 1987), identifications appear to be lacking.

In spite of the advances in WTV identifications in the region, we do not understand which WTVs are responsible for the epidemics. And, in some cases the epidemics may be caused by mixed infections. In Guatemala, 81% of the tomato samples tested, were found to have mixed infections (tomato geminivirus I and tomato geminivirus II; Maxwell, 1995). WTVs must be linked to the observed epidemics, in order to determine which virus pathosystems should be prioritized for epidemiological study.

The goal is to reduce environmental degradation due to the excessive pesticide use, and reduce threats to food security, which are resulting from whitefly and WTV damage.

Project Purpose :: To gather, generate and analyze, through scientific and grower networks, baseline data relevant to the diagnosis and characterization of whitefly and WTV problems in the tropics, in order to propose a sound research agenda for improved understanding of pest and disease dynamics, IPM development and IPM implementation.

Project Outputs ::

  • International network for whiteflies and WTVs in the tropics established
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessed
  • Epidemiological characterization initiated
  • Agronomic characterization initiated
  • Preliminary studies for Phase 2 conducted

Project Impact :: The immediate beneficiaries of Phase 1 of the Project will be a) IARC scientists, b) NARS scientists, c) small holder farmers, and d) donor agencies. Additional, indirect, beneficiaries will be the general community of whitefly and WTV scientists and government policy makers.

Project Leader :: Dr. Francisco Morales / Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical - CIAT
Donor Partner :: Danish International Development Agency - DANIDA
Partner institutions
and collaborating professionals ::


Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical - CIAT
Dr. Lee Calvert


Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados - CINESTAV
Dr. Rafael Rivera-Bustamante

Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales y Agropecuarias - INIFAP
Mr. Rafael Salinas
Mr. Irineo Torres-Pacheco
Mr. Raul Díaz
Mr. Wilson Avilés-Baeza
Mr. Genovevo Ramírez-Jaramillo


Programa de Frijol Centro Americano- PROFRIJOL
Mr. Abelardo Viana

Universidad del Valle
Ms. Margarita Palmieri
Ms. Mónica Orozco
Mr. René Ruano

El Salvador

Centro Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria - CENTA
Mr. Carlos Atilio Pérez
Ms. Priscila Henríquez
Mr. Ricardo Sandoval
Mr. Edgardo Mendoza

Universidad de El Salvador - UES
Mr. Leopoldo Serrano
Mr. Miguel Sermeño
Mr. Raul Iraheta
Mr. F. Bonilla
Mr. Dagoberto Pérez

Universidad Técnica Latinoamericana - UTLA
Mr. Claudio Nunes
Mr. Benjamín Meléndez


Escuela Agrícola Panamericana - EAP
Ms. María Mercedes Doyle
Mr. Rogerio Trabanino
Ms. Carolina Nolasco
Ms. Elsa Barrientos
Mr. Luis Jara
Ms. Norman Escoto


Universidad Nacional Agraria - UNA
Mr. Alberto Sediles

Ministerio de Agricultura
Mr. Aurelio Llano

Centro Agronómica Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza - CATIE Nicaragua
Mr. Falguni Guharay

Costa Rica

Centro Agronomica Tropical de Investigación y Enseñaza - CATIE
Dr. Luko Hilje
Mr. Juan Vallejos

Ministerio de Agricultura
Mr. Guillermo Sibaja
Mr. Carlos Araya
Mr. Rudolfo Araya
Mr. Pilar Ramírez


Instituto de Investigación Agropecuaria de Panamá - IDIAP
Mr. Orencio Fernández
Mr. José Guerra


National Plant Protection Service - NPPS, Ministry of Agriculture
Mr. Orlando Sosa
Mr. Lizandro Quiroz


Ministere de la Agriculture des Resources Naturelles et du Developpment Rural - MARNDR
Ing. Jackson Donis
Ing Emmanuel Prophete


Instituto de Investigaciones de Sanidad Vegetal - INISAV
Ms. Gloria González
Ms. Carlos Murguido
Ms. Luis Vásquez
Ms. A. Echemendía
Ms. Yolanda Martínez

Centro Nacional de Saniad Agropecuaria - CENSA
Yanin Hernández
Dr. Yamile Martínez
Dr. Ester Peralta

Instituto de Investigaciones Horticolas "Liliana Dimitrova"
Mr. Benito Faure
Dr. Olympia Gómez
Ms. María Chailloux

Dominican Republic

Secretaria del Estado de Agricultura - SEA
Mr. Emigdio Gómez
Mr. Augusto Villar

Junta Agro-empressarial Dominicana - JAD
Mr. Antún Aboud
Mr. Julio Nin
Ms. Alfonsina Sánchez

United States of America

University of Wisconsin-Madison - UWM Department of Plant Pathology
Dr. Douglas Maxwell

University of St. Thomas
Dr. Donald Frolich

University of Arizona-Tucson - UA Department of Plant Sciences
Dr. Judith Brown

University of Florida - UFL. Gulf Coast Education and Research Center
Dr. Jane Polston

Dissemination Outputs ::  
Keywords :: Bemisia tabaci; Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris); Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum); Pepper (Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens); Begomoviruses; Plant virology; Bean golden mosaic virus; Mexico; Guatemala; Honduras; El Salvador; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; Panama; Belize; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Cuba
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