Surveillance for Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV) in Cambodia and Vietnam one year after its initial detection in a single plantation in 2015

Cassava mosaic disease, one of the ten most economically important crop viral diseases in the world, was first reported in Southeast Asia from a single plantation in Cambodia in 2015. To determine the presence and incidence of Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV) one year after first detection, a total of 6,480 samples from 419 fields were systematically collected from cassava production areas across Cambodia (3,840 samples; 240 fields) and Vietnam (2,640samples; 179 fields) in the 2016 cropping season. Using PCR-based diagnostics, we identified 49 SLCMV-infected plants from nine fields, representing 2% of the total number of fields sampled. Infected fields were geographically restricted to two provinces of Eastern Cambodia, while no infection was detected from any of the other sampled sites in either country. Symptom expression patterns in infected plants suggested that SLCMV may have been transmitted both through infected planting materials, and by Bemisia tabaci, the known whitefly vector of SLCMV. In addition, 14% of virus infected plants did not express typical symptoms of cassava mosaic disease on their leaves, highlighting that molecular-based validation is needed to confirm the presence of SLCMV in the field. None of the owners of the SLCMV-infected fields indicated acquired planting materials from the plantation in Ratanakiri where SLCMV was first reported. The surveillance baseline data generated for both countries is discussed in light of future options to control and manage cassava mosaic disease.