Research Article: Good to the last drop: The emergence of coffee ringspot virus

Date Published: January 10, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Michael Goodin, Antonia Dos Reis Figueira, Rebecca Ellis Dutch.


Partial Text

Two and a half billion times per day a human hand reaches for a fresh cup of coffee. Although arguably dispensable for life per se, with an industry value of US$174 billion, coffee provides the lifeblood that sustains economies of producing countries located in the “coffee belt” situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. As a “solvent” in which many human interactions take place, coffee is witness to the broad spectrum of human activities from the mundane to the pleasurable and personal. However, in opposition to its economic, cultural, and physiological importance, diseases such as coffee rust (caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix) dictate activity on stock markets with their periodic epidemics, which in turn affects the migration patterns of displaced farm workers [1]. Other diseases, such as those caused by coffee ringspot virus (CoRSV), currently fly mostly under the radar of many integrated pest management systems. The unique biology of this and related viruses offers exciting research opportunities ranging from cell biology, plant pathology and physiology, conservation ecology, to climate change-related epidemiology. This review highlights important aspects of CoRSV, including its unique features, and examines the potential role of climate change in its emergence (Fig 1).

In contrast to the members of the Nucleorhabdovirus genus (Mononegavirales) to which they are most closely related [2], members of the Dichorhavirus genus have bipartite genomes, although their coding capacity is about the same as that of the plant-adapted rhabdoviruses (approzimately 14 kb) [3]. All dichorhaviruses are transmitted by species of false spider mite, Brevipalpus spp., with orchid fleck virus (OFV) being the type species [3, 4](Fig 2).




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