Molecular detection of cacao swollen shoot badnavirus species by amplification with four PCR primer pairs, and evidence that Cacao swollen shoot Togo B virus-like isolates are highly prevalent in Côte d’Ivoire


Badnaviruses are plant pararetroviruses that infect economically important crops worldwide, and several badnaviral species have been reported causing significant economic losses in cacao plantations in West Africa. Based on the available full-length genome sequences of cacao swollen shoot disease (CSSD)-associated badnaviruses (n = 66), four primer pairs (CSSD1-CSSD4) were designed to amplify a fragment of the 5′ region of open reading frame (ORF) 3, which comprises the movement protein, by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Primers were evaluated for their ability to amplify a badnaviral fragment(s) from symptomatic and asymptomatic cacao leaf samples collected in Côte d’Ivoire during 2017–2019. The PCR products obtained by amplification with the CSSD1 primers showed high sequence variability and were phylogenetically related to one of three different badnaviral species, Cacao swollen shoot Togo B virus, Cacao swollen shoot CD virus, and Cacao swollen shoot CE virus, while the CSSD2 and CSSD4 amplicon sequences grouped exclusively with either cacao swollen shoot Togo B virus (CSSTBV) and Cacao swollen shoot Ghana M virus isolates, respectively. The majority of the isolates obtained here were most closely phylogenetically related to CSSTBV, with which they shared 81.0–98.0% nucleotide identity, making the CSSTBV-like isolates the predominant species associated with badnavirus-infected cacao trees tested in Côte d’Ivoire.

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The authors thank MARS Inc. for supporting this research through Trust Agreement 6038-21000-023-12-T.

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Correspondence to Judith K. Brown.

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Ramos-Sobrinho, R., Kouakou, K., Bi, A.B. et al. Molecular detection of cacao swollen shoot badnavirus species by amplification with four PCR primer pairs, and evidence that Cacao swollen shoot Togo B virus-like isolates are highly prevalent in Côte d’Ivoire. Eur J Plant Pathol (2021).

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  • Caulimoviridae
  • Badnavirus
  • Emergent disease
  • Tree crop