Potato Leaf Roll Virus – PLRV

Kind of organism : Virus

Detection method : ELISA

All diseases & pests

Causal agent(s) and transmission

Potato leaf roll virus is a Luteovirus transmitted by aphids feeding on the plant sap. The transmission of Potato leaf roll virus is called persistent (or circulative) because the aphid only becomes infectious after a latency period required for the transit of the virus in the insect’s intestine and then in its salivary glands. Few aphid species can transmit PLRV: Myzus persicae is the most efficient vector but Aulacorthum solani and Macrosiphum euphorbiae may also transmit PLRV.


The natural host range of PLRV is rather narrow and most known hosts (about 20 species) are in the Solanaceae family. The hosts belong to the cultivated plants (such as potato or tomato) or to the uncultivated species (e.g. Physalis floridanaDatura stramonium which can be a virus reservoir). Non-solanaceous hosts include Amaranthus caudatusCelosia argenteaGomphrena globosa and Capsella bursa-pastoris.


PLRV can cause a yield reduction of up to 50- 80% on susceptible cultivars and, in some cases, it may cause tuber net necrosis.

Facteurs de risque

The development of PLRV infection results from the combination of different sources of infection:

Symptoms on foliage

The symptoms vary with the cultivar, the climatic conditions and according to whether the infection has occurred during the current or the previous year:

Primary infection results in yellowing of the apical leaves and sometimes an erect growth habit. The upper leaflets may be slightly curled at their base (inward rolling) and have a lighter colour (photo 1). Purple pigmentation can sometimes be seen on the edges.

Secondary infection usually results in more severe symptoms with stunted plants, erect growth habit (photo 2) and typical curled leaves (photos 3 and 4). The in-rolling of leaflets is less pronounced on the young leaves which are usually pale yellow than on the bottom leaves which are tightly curled and hardened (leaves break with a cracking sound when crushed). Sometimes leaflets have purple edges due to the formation of anthocyanin (photos 4 and 5).


Severe yellowing and in-rolling of the upper leaves can, more rarely, be associated with red-purplish discolouration at the edges of the leaflets (photo 6).

Symptoms on tubers

During the growing period, the mother-tubers of infected plants decompose more slowly and the daughter tubers remain small.


Some potato cultivars like Russet Burbank can react to PLRV infection with the formation of many brown necrotic spots, usually localised near the surface of the tuber (photo 7) or around the vascular ring (net necrosis). The necrosis seems to be related to warm climatic conditions in the field and can develop in storage.


For potato crops intended for ware and processing, the use of certified seed potatoes and of resistant cultivars are the main ways of controlling infection due to viral diseases.

Production of certified seed potatoes is based on a range of measures limiting the infection by viral diseases during the growing period and involves:

Additional control measures in seed potato production include: