Surveillance of virus diseases in UK pea crops


SummaryAll crops, agricultural, horticultural and ornamental, are affected by virus-like diseases, although the causal agents of such diseases may not be known. Where disease does occur the level of economic damage may not be great enough to warrant investigation of treatment regimes. Plant viruses are transmitted by vectors including invertebrate, fungal or human.  Once a plant is infected with a virus it cannot be treated and will form a source of inoculum for other plants. Gaining an in depth knowledge of the epidemiology of plant virus diseases is the key to effective disease management. The first step in this process is to accurately detect and identify the viruses in crops and to assess the impact these viruses are having in limiting crop production. The aim is to develop a cost effective generic approach to allow surveillance of any horticultural crop for the presence of both known and unknown viral pathogens, and to also allow quantification of the incidence of such pathogens. Working in pea crops as an exemplar system virus incidence data will be used to identify fields for focused further study of virus yield reduction/impact assessment. 

Project code:
FV 459
01 December 2018 - 30 January 2022
AHDB Horticulture
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:


FV459 1st interim report Review of novel strategies to manage viruses in UK crops FV 459 2nd Growers Summary_interim report_June 2022 FV 459 2nd interim report_June 2022

About this project

Aim: The aim of the project is to provide a generic approach to assessing the presence and incidence of virus diseases in crops allowing a standardised approach to be developed which could be applied to any crop with minimal modification. This will include generic identification based upon the use of High-Throughput Sequencing, measurement of incidence, and assessment of impact of viral pathogens.


1. Generic Surveillance Approaches - Presence and Incidence of viruses: Develop a generic surveillance approach which can be applied to any field crop with minimal adaptation. The approach will combine novel sampling and testing approaches and should allow for determining the presence and absence of known, unexpected, and currently unknown pathogen candidates. The same field sample will also be used to determine the field incidence of pathogen candidates. In this case pea will be used as a model crop for the proof of concept.

2. Impact assessment of viruses: Fields identified through Objective 1 will be sampled at harvest to ascertain yield and quality losses.