Pepper Mild Mottle Virus - Importance

Importance

Controlling this virus is important for pepper production worldwide, but recent research shows that this plant disease may be transmitted to humans. A French study identified a local source of PMMoV and linked the presence of PMMoV RNA in stool with a specific immune response and clinical symptoms. Although clinical symptoms may be imputable to another co-factor, including spicy food, the data in the study suggested the possibility of a direct or indirect pathogenic role of plant viruses in humans.

In an article from the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal, it was found that PMMoV could be a potential indicator of fecal pollution. Their results demonstrate that PMMoV is widespread and abundant in wastewater from the United States, suggesting the utility of this virus as an indicator of human fecal pollution. Quantitative PCR was used to determine the abundance of PMMoV in raw sewage, treated wastewater, seawater exposed to wastewater, and fecal samples and/or intestinal homogenates from a wide variety of animals. PMMoV was present in all wastewater samples at concentrations greater than 1 million copies per milliliter of raw sewage.

Though there have been no major outbreaks in humans, the transmittance of this plant virus to humans has created a discussion on the viability of humans as vectors for plant viruses.

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