M. El Air, N. Mahfoudhi, T. Elbeaino, M.H. Dhouibi, M. Digiaro
doi: 10.4454/JPP.V95I4SUP.017
The symptomatology of fig mosaic disease is extremely vari- able. The causal agent of the disease was unknown for a long time (Martelli, 2011), until enveloped round to ovoid bodies known as double membrane bodies (DMBs) were found consis- tently associated with mosaic symptoms. DMBs were successfully transmitted by the eriophyd mite Aceria ficus (Martelli, 2011), and eventually identified as the putative particles of Fig mosaic virus (FMV) (Elbeaino et al., 2009). In spring 2011 a survey of fig orchards was carried out in four different areas of north Tunisia (Cap Bon, Mornag, Béja, Rafraf) to assess the presence and prevalence of FMV. A range of foliar symptoms, including vari- ous types of chlorotic mottling and blotching, crinkling, vein clearing, vein banding, vein feathering, ring spots, line patterns and malformations, were observed in all the fields surveyed. Symptomatic leaf samples were collected from fig trees and test- ed by RT-PCR using FMV-specific primers (E5-s CGGTAG- CAAATGGAATGAAA) and (E5-a-AACACTGTTTTTGC- GATTGG). A 302 pb DNA fragment of RNA-1 (Elbeaino et al., 2009) was obtained from 35% (62 out of 175) of the samples tested. The virus was widely distributed in cvs Zidi (54%), Bouhouli (52%), Bayoudhi (25%) and Bither (20%). Mosaic-like symptoms were also present in 63 of 143 samples that were PCR- negative for FMV. This last finding further supports the complex nature of fig mosaic disease in whose aetiology FMV plays a sig- nificant but likely not exclusive role (Martelli, 2011). To our knowledge, this is the first record of FMV in Tunisia.