Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus makes fruit unsaleable (Photo: NT DPIF)

April 21, 2015

Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined a farm because of a confirmed case of cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) – the first time this plant disease has been detected in the State.

CGMMV affects cucurbit species – including watermelons, melons, cucumber, bitter-gourd, bottle gourd, zucchini, pumpkin and squash – and has badly damaged the Northern Territory’s watermelon industry since it was first detected in Katherine in September last year.

Earlier this month the NT Government declared that it was no longer eradicable after it was found not only in known host crops, but also in a range of weeds.

However, Biosecurity Queensland said today the Queensland case, which has occurred on a farm west of Townsville, appeared to be an isolated case at one location and it believes it can control the outbreak.

The agency said it was moving quickly and working with the property owner to ensure the infection remains confined at this site.

Imported cucurbit seeds were identified as a potential source of the CGMMV outbreak in the Northern Territory, and while the Federal Government has since tightened conditions on imported seeds, in the Queensland case it is believed the seeds were imported before this occurred.

Fruit symptoms include internal rotting, yellowing or dirty red discolouration. Externally fruit can show lesions on the stem or malformation of fruit shape, and mosaic-like mottling of leaves.

CGMMV is easily transmitted through infected plant material, seed and water, and also through contaminated equipment and clothing.

After the NT outbreak, Queensland responded by restricting the movement of cucurbit plants, fruit, and seeds, as well as soil, machinery, tools and packing equipment associated with cucurbit crops, from within, into, or out of Queensland without an inspector’s approval.

Queensland is Australia’s biggest grower of melons. Pumpkins, cucumbers and zucchini are also major crops.

CGMMV is a notifiable pest under the Plant Protection Act 1989.

Growers have been urged to check their crops for the virus and contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately to report any suspected cases of CGMMV.

NB. There are no human health issues associated with CGMMV, however it badly affects plant yields and can make a crop unsaleable.

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