Consortium initiated to research on new virus disease, Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf

The Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV) was first discovered in Guangdong province about 9 years ago. Zhou et al and  Zhang et al published the descriptions of this new virus transmitted by the white back planthopper (WBPH). The virus has also been found infecting maize, sorghum and grasses. Lately large areas of rice and maize in the southern provinces of China and the northern provinces of Vietnam were found destroyed by the virus (Read: New virus carried by WBPH).

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Stunted maize (A) and rice (B) plants infected with the virus

In December 2009, Dr Bui Ba Bong, the vice minister of agriculture and rural development of Vietnam announced the formation of the China-IRRI-Vietnam consortium to initiate research on this new problem.

The Steering Committee of the Consortium held its inaugural meeting in Sanya, Hainan in January 6 -7, 2010 and visited the site, Lou Di Yang, where the virus had been discovered. Numerous rice ratoons and maize plants were found infected by the virus in the area.

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Dr J. Y Xia, the DG of NATESC (in white) examining diseased maize plants with Professor Zhou (in grey)

The Consortium elected Dr K. L. Heong as the chair and Dr I.R. Choi as the secretary and developed a China-IRRI-Vietnam collaboration research plan.  The members from China are Dr Jing Yuan Xia, Director General of the National Agro-Tech Extension & Service Center (NATESC) (deputized by Dr Puyun Yang), Professor Jiaan Cheng (Zhejiang University) and Professor Jian Peng Chen (President of the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences), and from Vietnam, Dr Nguyen Van Tuat, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Dr Ngo Vinh Vien, Director of the Plant Protection Research Institute and Dr Hoang Trung, vice Director General of Plant Protection Department (deputized by Mr Nguyen Tuan Loc).

In his opening address to the Committee, Dr Xia said that the immediate task of the Consortium is to do research to find out as much as possible about this new virus, develop a collaborative monitoring scheme to understand its spread and develop strategy options.

He added that this problem is a top priority in NATESC and he will brief the Chinese Agricultural Ministry about the problem and seek more support for the Consortium.  

China and Vietnam have developed a memorandum of agreement between the two ministries of agriculture in 2009 to support collaborative activities in pest monitoring.

There will be some funds available immediately to support the Consortium’s planned activities this year.  Two sites in Northern Vietnam were identified as the collaborative monitoring stations, Quang Nam and Nam Dinh, and they will each be equipped with an automated light trap, computers and support items by NATESC and provided with training on diagnostic methods.

Five monitoring stations in China, one each in Hainan, Yunnan and Guangdong and two in Guangxi will be used in this collaboration.  

In addition collaborative research in virus surveys, virus identification, developing field diagnostic kits, vector-virus relationships, plant-virus relationships, epidemiology and evaluation of control strategies will be carried out between scientists in Plant Protection Research Institute, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, South China Agricultural University and IRRI.

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