Protected tomato: sources, survival and disinfection of Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV)


Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) was first reported in the UK in a tomato crop in January 1999 and has been confirmed in further crops each subsequent season. It is a mechanically transmitted virus in Potex (Potato virus X (PVX)) group and is extremely contagious. Hands, clothing and tools are believed to be the primary means of spread. 

Nursery experience indicates there is a significant risk of carryover once a nursery is affected.

Infection results in a range of symptoms that commonly include leaf mosaic and bubbling, a pale green spiky head to the plant, angular yellow spots on leaves, plant

stunting and marbling. Visibly affected fruit are unmarketable and yield of Class I fruit may be reduced by around 10%.



This project identified potential sources of Pepino Mosaic Virus (PepMV) on affected nurseries and determined the likely survival period of the virus under different conditions.  Nine disinfectants were shown to be capable of reducing virus contamination to non-transmissible levels.  Application of the results will reduce the risk of continued outbreaks of PepMV on a nursery.

PepMV can be eliminated from solid surfaces by chemical disinfection, high-pressure hot water washing and by natural decay with time.

Project code:
PC 181
01 July 2000 - 30 September 2003
Project leader:
Tim O’Neill, ADAS


PC 181 year 1 report PC 181 GS year 1 report PC 181 Tomatoes Pepino Mosaic Virus PC 181 GS Tomatoes Pepino Mosaic Virus

About this project

The expected deliverables from this project were:

  • Knowledge of where the virus may occur on a nursery after an outbreak.
  • Information on survival of the virus on solid surfaces under different environmental conditions.
  • Information on survival of the virus in roots in soil
  • Identification of chemical disinfectants fully effective against the virus
  • Efficacy of high pressure, hot water washing as a method of disinfecting the glasshouse structure and plastic tray.