- Papaya

Papaya Papaya

Papaya Leaf Curl Virus



In a Nutshell

  • Top leaves rolling down- and inwards.
  • Thickening and clearing of veins.
  • Leaves become leathery and brittle.
  • Defoliation leads to stunted growth.
  • Few, small distorted fruits.
 - Papaya

Papaya Papaya


The most obvious symptoms of this disease are the downward or inward curling leaves. Other symptoms include the thickening of the leaf veins, sometimes with the formation of outgrowths. Leaves become leathery and brittle and petioles have a deformed, often twisted aspect. Top leaves are most affected. At later stages of the disease defoliation can occur. Plant growth is stunted and the production of flowers or fruits may be compromised. If present at all, fruits are small, distorted in shape and tend to fall prematurely.

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The main vector for the transmission of the virus is the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. It spreads the virus from plant to plant in a non-persistent manner. This means that the transmission takes place within the few seconds while the virus is still active in the vector. Other ways in that the disease is spread is via infected seedlings or seeds as well as through grafting material. Papaya leaf curl virus is not transmitted through mechanical work in the field. Alternative hosts are tomato and tobacco plants. The virus is widely distributed but as of today it has a limited incidence. However, in some specific cases, it can result in severe economic losses.

Organic Control

Spray white oil emulsions (1%) to hinder the uptake and transmission of the virus by aphids.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures and biological treatments if available. There is no chemical treatment for viral infections. However, holding the population of whiteflies in check can reduce the severity of the infection. Soil application at the time of sowing and 4-5 foliar sprays of dimethoate or metasystox at an interval of 10 days can effectively control whitefly populations.

Preventive Measures

  • Check for resistant varieties available.
  • Do not grow alternative hosts in proximity of papayas.
  • Avoid extensive insecticide use to favor beneficial insects.
  • Uproot infected plants and destroy them.
  • Be careful not to leave any plant residues after harvest.

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