Virus vector unveiled

Research by NSW Department of Primary Industries researchers, supported by Grains Research and Development Corporation, has paved the way for controlling diseases of legume field crops.

Viruses cause important diseases of faba bean, chickpea, field pea, and lupin.  A perplexing range of virus species is involved, but the most damaging ones have something in common—they are spread by aphids.

The question is “which aphid”.  Some aphid species are more important than others or more controllable. 

Dr Mark Schwinghamer, Dr Adrian Nicholas, and Mr Mark Schilg at Tamworth Agricultural Institute now have answers for faba bean viruses.  The results are described in Australasian Plant Pathology 38:262-269. 

“We identified three aphid species as vectors” Dr Schwinghamer said.  “Of these, evidence points to pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) as being most important.”

“Previous research from New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia indicated that pea aphid was either a non-vector or minor vector.”

“Now, control strategies that target pea aphid are warranted for faba bean” Dr. Schwinghamer said.

Contact Dr Mark Schwinghamer, Tamworth, (02) 6763 1134,

Further reading:  Virus situation in chickpeas faba beans and canola