Document Type


Publication Date




In recent years, a number of serious disease outbreaks caused by viruses and viroids on greenhouse tomatoes in North America have resulted in significant economic losses to growers. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of commercial disinfectants against mechanical transmission of these pathogens, and to select disinfectants with broad spectrum reactivity to control general virus and viroid diseases in greenhouse tomato production.


A total of 16 disinfectants were evaluated against Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), and Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The efficacy of each disinfectant to deactivate the pathogen’s infectivity was evaluated in replicate experiments from at least three independent experiments. Any infectivity that remained in the treated solutions was assessed through bioassays on susceptible tomato plants through mechanical inoculation using inocula that had been exposed with the individual disinfectant for three short time periods (0–10 sec, 30 sec and 60 sec). A positive infection on the inoculated plant was determined through symptom observation and confirmed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PepMV, ToMV, and TMV) and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (PSTVd). Experimental data were analyzed using Logistic regression and the Bayesian methodology.


Statistical analyses using logistic regression and the Bayesian methodology indicated that two disinfectants (2% Virkon S and 10% Clorox regular bleach) were the most effective to prevent transmission of PepMV, PSTVd, ToMV, and TMV from mechanical inoculation. Lysol all-purpose cleaner (50%) and nonfat dry milk (20%) were also effective against ToMV and TMV, but with only partial effects for PepMV and PSTVd.


With the broad spectrum efficacy against three common viruses and a viroid, several disinfectants, including 2% Virkon S, 10% Clorox regular bleach and 20% nonfat dry milk, are recommend to greenhouse facilities for consideration to prevent general virus and viroid infection on tomato plants.

Included in

Horticulture Commons