Six Tips to Help Prevent the Spread of ToBRFV in Greenhouses

Expert Insights
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With the potential for up to 70 percent crop loss and appearances in greenhouses across the world, preventing tomato brown rugose virus has become a priority over the past decade. The highly-transmittable nature of this virus requires a strict greenhouse hygiene routine, as ToBRFV can easily move between greenhouses on plants, tools, clothes, footwear, and accessories. This includes:  

1. Recognize signs of ToBRFV 

Symptoms of this global disease on leaves include wrinkling and bubbling as a mosaic pattern, according to Michigan State University. Growers may also see browning calyx and a rough surface on fruit. Fruit may die, or appear pale with brown necrotic spots. ToBRFV can affect tomato plants early in the season, stunting its growth and fruit development. Plants may also be infected later, when the fruit turns red.  

2. Clean between seasons as early as possible 

If possible, it is ideal to deep clean and complete greenhouse sanitization between growing seasons when the greenhouse is empty, says University of Massachusetts Amherst. It’s best for this to occur as early as possible to eliminate the potential for diseases and pests to overwinter. Completely remove weeds, debris, and soil and disinfect the greenhouse working from top to bottom.  

3. Limit movement between multiple greenhouses 

Plants should not be moved between greenhouses, as ToBRFV may be asymptomatic. In general, it’s advised that growers limit the number of greenhouses they move between each day. It is best to avoid moving to a greenhouse with young plants after visiting an area with older cultivation. If movement from an infected area to another greenhouse is necessary, growers should change their clothing and shoes and disinfect before entering the uninfected area. 

4. Thoroughly sanitize hands and accessories   

Before entering a greenhouse, it’s vital to disinfect hands and accessories like sunglasses, gloves, watches, and jewelry. In fact, it’s best if phones and other accessories are left outside of the greenhouse altogether. If they must come in, putting them in a plastic bag can help avoid the potential of spreading disease.  

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Sanitation Checklist

Whether you visit greenhouses everyday, or you're a guest it's important to adhere to hygiene standards to reduce ToBRFV transmission.

Share this free downloadable checklist with everyone in your greenhouse and have it available to share with guests who visit.

5. Plant ToBRFV resistant varieties 

It is very easy to spread ToBRFV between plants and greenhouses. That’s why Syngenta Vegetable Seeds was the first innovator of a ToBRFV resistant variety that adds protection from this devastating disease while also providing a great tasting product.  

“As we continue to add new varieties to our lineup, we’re making sure they still taste great,” said Ruud Kaagman, Syngenta Global Crop Unit Head, Tomato. “Consumers love the taste of our tomatoes and choose them when they go to the grocery store, so with the introductions of new resistant varieties we want to make sure that growers can continue to deliver what consumers expect.” 

6. Be vigilant  

Continual scouting and hygiene practices are vital to protect tomato plants. Learn more about the ToBRFV and how you can prevent its spread by visiting the Syngenta Vegetable Seeds ToBRFV Information Center.  

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