STAR Virucide: Newport-Fersan’s response to Plant Viruses

by Melvin Henry, Technical Manager, Newport-Fersan (Jamaica) Ltd.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), farmers will have to produce an estimated 70% more food by 2050, in a quest to meet the needs of the world’s population, which is expected to be 9-billion-strong. It is well-documented that plant virus infections account for an estimated $30 billion in global economic losses annually, and are linked to almost 50% of plant diseases worldwide, posing a real threat to global food security.

The nature of Plant Viruses

The two major components of each plant virus are the nucleic acid and the protein coat or capsid. A mature particle of a plant virus is generally called virion and its entire infective particle is referred to as Nucleocapsid.

Plant Viruses are known to cause serious diseases in crops, resulting in a significant reduction in both the quality and quantity of final produce. It must also be noted that produce, impacted by viral infection(s) will have limited shelf life and increased serious post-harvest losses.

Plants become infected whenever a virus enters and colonizes their system, resulting in vital changes in the plant’s cell structure, its metabolism and gene expression. Plant viruses generally have a degrading effect on the cell walls, disrupting cellular proteins and the endoplasmic reticulum. These internal alterations to the normal structure and processes within the plant, appear as symptoms (physical alterations in host plants due to pathogen infection). Some of the most common symptoms, while not limited to, include stunted growth, chlorosis, mosaic, and deformed leaves, with plants displaying no/low flowering.

Major Plant Viruses of Economic Importance

Papaya Ring Spot Virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Tomato Leaf Curl Virus, Pepper Leaf Curl Virus, Pepper Mosaic Virus, Squash Mosaic Virus, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Leaf Roll Virus and Yellow Spot Viruses. It is important to note, that whilst a crop name is assigned to a particular virus, this virus has the potential to cause severe harm to other crops. For example, the Tobacco Mosaic Virus also affects crops such as peppers and tomatoes.

Transmission of Plant Viruses

The transmission of plant viruses from plant to plant is generally achieved via one of the following modes:

  • Transmission via vectors (insect, mite, nematode and fungus)
  • Transmission via vegetative propagation (cutting, budding, grafting, etc.)
  • Transmission via seed
  • Transmission via pollen
  • Mechanical transmission via plant sap

Best Management Practices re Plant Viruses

Preventative measures should include: crop rotation, removal of crop residue, no smoking policy, good sanitation, controlling of susceptible weeds species, the use of disease-free planting material, use of resistant varieties, the use of seed and seedling Pre-Treatment: a cocktail of Star Virucide, Sucka Insecticide and the High Yield Package.

Curative measures should include: a cocktail of Star Virucide, Sucka Insecticide and the High Yield Package.

Results from Star Virucide Trial


  • The chart shows that during December, 1,047 Kg of hot peppers were reaped from the treated plot compared to 694 Kg in the untreated plot; this represents a variance of 51.9%.
  • To date a total of 1,546 Kg has been harvested from the treated plot versus 972 Kg from the untreated plot. This represents an overall variance of 59%.
  • In summary, both the yield data, backed by the images below, clearly showed the profound impact that the application of Newport-Fersan’s Star Virucide had on the growth and productivity of the virus-infected hot pepper field crop.

FERSAN’s Star Virucide is designed to enter the stomatal openings and is translocated into the plant system through the vascular bundles. The STAR, on entering the affected plant cell, encapsulates the virion particles. It reduces the separation of the virus particles in protein and nuclei particles; once this is achieved, the absence of food causes the virus to become inactive. Star Virucide then opens the conductive tissues blocked by the movement of virus particles and the plant cells start to recover.

For additional information, please contact our technical department at 967-5815 extension 2226.


Melvin Henry is the Technical Manager at Newport-Fersan (Jamaica) Ltd.

For additional information, please contact our
Technical Department at 967-5815 extension 2226.



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