Isometric virus-like particles, 18 nm in diameter, have been isolated from banana ( spp.) affected by bunchy top disease in Australia. Banana bunchy top disease-associated virus-like particles (BBTV) banded as a single component with buoyant density of 1·28 to 1·29 g/ml in CsSO and sedimented at about 46S in isokinetic sucrose density gradients. The / of purified preparations was about 1.33. A single coat protein of 20500 was identified with antibodies to BBTV particles from Australia. Single-stranded DNA of about 1 kb as well as ssRNA smaller than 0.45 kb was also associated with the particles. A polyclonal antiserum to BBTV, suitable for use in ELISA, was prepared. Stability and antigenicity of purified BBTV was impaired by storage at pH ≥ 8.5 and freezing at -20 °C without protectants. BBTV was detected by double antibody sandwich-ELISA with monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, in field-infected banana plants, single aphids from an infective colony, and in experimentally aphid-inoculated banana plants. After transmission of BBTV particles by aphids from a banana bunchy top disease-affected to an uninfected banana plant, the disease was induced and BBTV was detected by ELISA in symptomatic leaves only. BBTV isolates from Australia, Taiwan, People's Republic of China, Tonga, Western Samoa and Hawaii were found to be serologically related, which suggests a common aetiology for the disease.


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