Potato Virus Y (PVY) is an important pathogen of potato crops and can cause significant economic losses, particularly for potato seed growers. It is a non-persistent virus that is transmitted, mainly within the field, by the movement and probing of winged aphids.
Over 500 aphid species have been reported in the UK. Various researchers have trapped and tested winged aphids in the UK and the Netherlands for their ability to transmit one or more strains of PVY. When these species lists are combined, there are around 30 species that have been found to transmit PVY.
Potato seed producers must adhere to EEC directive 66/403/EEC which states that for a crop to be suitable for seed there should be a virus incidence of less than 4% in the direct progeny of the crop. To this end, it would be helpful to the seed producer if an accurate prediction of the level of PVY in the crop could be obtained.