Field grown plants, especially the perennial crops, harbor a variety of pathogens, such as fungi, bacteria, phytoplasma, viruses and viroids, which cause considerable economic losses and restrict international movement of germplasm. Whereas fungal and bacterial diseases can be controlled by the application of fungicides and bactericides, viruses and viroids generally do not respond to chemical control. Eradication of viruses is highly desirable to optimize the yields. Traditionally, thermotherapy of whole plant has been used to obtain virus free plants from infected stock plants, which is a cumbersome process. Moreover, not all viruses are eliminated by this method. Since 1952 shoot meristem-tip culture has become the most popular method for virus eradication. Where viruses invade the meristematic dome shoot-tip culture is combined with thermotherapy and /or chemotherapy. Cryotherapy of shoot-tip is emerging as a powerful technique for virus elimination. Recently electrotherapy of shoot tip before culture has been found helpful in elimination of some viruses. Shoot meristem-tip culture alone or in combination with thermotherapy, chemotherapy, electrotherapy and/or cryotherapy is being widely used to raise virus free plants from infected stock plants.
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