Left photo shows a tomato plant infected with the tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). Right photo shows a tomato leaf with white fly eggs. (Images from DOST-ITDI)

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently reported new developments on the detection kit for tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV).

TYLCV affects tomato plant growth and fruiting, making it one of the biggest problems for tomato farmers nationwide. Its name suggests that its symptoms are a slight curling and yellowing of tomato leaves.

Dr. Elizabeth G. Panerio is in charge of the project, “Development of LAMP-based detection kit for Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV)-Philippine Strains,” which is run by the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI).

It is one of the projects of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP), which was founded to study viruses and viral diseases.

The goal of the project is to create a detection kit using Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology, which can make a diagnosis more quickly than kits based on traditional PCR. This kit will be utilized for border surveillance of the virus and quarantine regulations.

Additionally, it will identify the TYLCV strains and their prevalence in 15 tomato-producing provinces across the nation.

During the review, Dr. Panerio reported the field sampling of tomatoes in four major producing provinces (Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, and Batangas) in the country. The team has synthesized two primers for TYLCV and Tomato Leaf Curl Virus (ToLCV), which are essential to the development of the kit.

Since white flies transmit the virus and cause its spread, Technical Evaluator Dr. Mark O. Balendres of the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines Los Baños suggested incorporating the integrated pest management (IPM) for TYLCV to strengthen the biosecurity plan of the project.

Completion of leaf sample collection and development of the kit are expected in the second year of implementation of the project.

The review was held via videoconferencing and organized by the Crops Research Division (CRD) of DOST-PCAARRD and attended by the project teams from DOST-ITDI and CRD composed of Officer in Charge, Dr. Allan B. Siano, Program Monitoring and Evaluation and Program-based Information System (PME-PBIS) Section Head Leilani D. Pelegrina, ISP Manager for Vegetables Joel Norman R. Panganiban, and key staff from CRD.

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