Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) has recently emerged as a highly infectious viral pathogen in tomato crops. Greenhouse trials were conducted under conditions similar to commercial tomato production. These trials examined whether tomato plants can be protected against PepMV by a preceding infection with an attenuated isolate of this virus. Two potential attenuated isolates that displayed mild leaf symptoms were selected from field isolates. Two PepMV isolates that displayed severe leaf symptoms were also selected from field isolates to challenge the attenuated isolates. The isolates with aggressive symptoms were found to reduce bulk yields by 8 and 24% in single infections, respectively. Yield losses were reduced to a 0–3% loss in plants that were treated with either one of the attenuated isolates, while no effects were observed on the quality of the fruits. After the challenge infection, virus accumulation levels and symptom severity of the isolates with aggressive symptoms were also reduced by cross-protection. Infection with the attenuated isolates alone did neither affect bulk yield, nor quality of the harvested tomato fruits.
- genomic rna