Update on the Rough Brown Tomato Fruit Virus situation in the Netherlands
Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (Tobamovirus, ToBRFV – EPPO A2 List) was detected for the first time in the Netherlands in October 2019 in a greenhouse on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in the municipality of Westland (EPPO SI 2019 / 209) and later in 20 sites in 8 municipalities (RS 2020/225). National official measures have been implemented since October 2019 and comply with EU regulations (EU Implementing Decisions 2019/1615 and 2020/1191).
The NPPO of the Netherlands informed the EPPO Secretariat that in March 2021 measures were being applied at 23 tomato producing sites in 12 municipalities (436.8 ha in total). Since October 2019, ToBRFV has been detected in 32 companies (476.6 ha), it has been eradicated in 5 companies (25.7 ha) and in 4 companies, the measures are suspended because non-host plants are cultivated. In 8 sites, eradication was not successful and ToBRFV was confirmed in the new culture.
Measures at infected fruit production sites include strict hygiene measures (disinfection or replacement of clothing, machinery, equipment, surfaces and packaging material). Disinfection with potassium peroxymonosulfate is recommended. Fruits can be harvested provided that specific hygienic measures are applied both at the place of production and at the packing station, including cleaning and disinfection of packing materials. After removal from the crop, cleaning and disinfection of the greenhouse, the production site is monitored, including testing at least six months after planting, to verify the absence of the virus in the next crop, before measures are lifted. Fruit growers reported losses varying between 5 and 30%. Some companies reported a loss of less than 5%. Other companies have had to remove a crop and start a new crop. The costs of official waste destruction measures amount to approximately EUR 5,000-10,000 per hectare. In addition, additional costs are required for hygiene measures.
Seed lots are tested as part of traceback measures. As a result, four seed lots tested positive. However, it was not possible to confirm whether these seeds caused infection of the fruit crop, as sequencing of the virus was not possible. Following trace-back measures, measures were also applied at a site producing tomato seedlings for planting. The source of the outbreaks is not known. Based on the genome sequencing analysis, it is concluded that probably at least 3 different introductions have taken place.