Review. Elimination of viruses in plants: twenty years of progress

  • A. Panattoni University of Pisa, Italy
  • A. Luvisi Department of Tree Science, Entomology and Plant Pathology “G. Scaramuzzi”. University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80. 56124 Pisa
  • E. Triolo Department of Tree Science, Entomology and Plant Pathology “G. Scaramuzzi”. University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80. 56124 Pisa
Keywords: bibliographic research, plant virus, thermotherapy, chemotherapy, tissue culture


To shed light on trends about elimination of viruses from plants, a bibliographic research was conducted to identify thermotherapy, chemotherapy and tissue culture trials published from 1991 through 2010. Among woody plants, grapevine, apple and peach are the most frequent targets of sanitation protocols because their health status is strictly regulated. Even if thermotherapy represents the preferred method for the host, grapevine viruses can also be eliminated with chemotherapy and tissue culture; apple viruses respond to chemotherapy as well. Although a similar trend was reported among herbaceous plants, chemotherapy was the most frequently used technique in potato. With regard to virus, thermotherapy was successfully applied against viruses belonging to 13 families and an unassigned genus. Instead, chemotherapy and tissue culture techniques eradicated viruses belonging to fewer families (nine). An interpretation of thermotherapy effects considers the new metabolic “pathways” triggered by the natural antiviral response emitted by the infected plant, with particular reference to virus-induced gene silencing. With regard to chemotherapy, several groups of antiviral drugs belong to inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase inhibitors, S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors. Tissue culture, usually adopted to regenerate plantlets in biotechnological breeding programs, represents the less used tool for eliminate viruses from plants.


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How to Cite
PanattoniA., LuvisiA., & TrioloE. (2013). Review. Elimination of viruses in plants: twenty years of progress. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 11(1), 173-188.
Plant protection