Thrips-transmitted Iris yellow spot virus (IYSV) is an important economic constraint to the production of bulb and seed onion crops in the United States and many other parts of the world. Because the virus is exclusively spread by thrips, the ability to rapidly detect the virus in thrips vectors would facilitate studies on the role of thrips in virus epidemiology, and thus formulation of better vector management strategies. Using a polyclonal antiserum produced against the recombinant, Escherichia coli-expressed nonstructural protein coded by the small (S) RNA of IYSV, an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was developed for detecting IYSV in individual as well as groups of adult thrips. The approach enabled estimating the proportion of potential thrips transmitters in a large number of field-collected thrips collected from field-grown onion plants. Availability of a practical and inexpensive test to identify viruliferous thrips would be useful in epidemiological studies to better understand the role of thrips vectors in outbreaks of this economically important virus of onion.
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