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Phytosanitary status of saffron crop in Aragón (Spain): insects, mites, nematodes, viruses, bacteria and weeds

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Authors: A. Cirujeda, Mª M. Coca-Abia, F. Escriu, A. Palacio-Bielsa, A. I. Marí, P. Zuriaga, J. Aibar, M. Luis, C. Zaragoza
Issue: 112-1 (3-19)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: Rhizoglyphus robini, Aphelenchoides blastophtorus, potyvirus, Lolium rigidum, Descurainia sophia, prevention

In the last decades, saffron produced in Spains is gaining relevance as a high-quality product, which requires the selection of healthy corms, the reproductive organ, for planting in order to maintain adequate phytosanitary status of the crop. In this work, the phytosanitary status of saffron was studied in Teruel (Aragón, Spain), where the crop has economic and social importance. Moreover, it aims to be useful for the production areas with similar agro-climatic characteristics. Ten commercial saffron plantations in six locations of the Jiloca valley have been surveyed between 2008 and 2011 and the presence of insects, mites, nematodes, virus, bacteria and weeds was studied. The mite Rhizoglyphus robini, one of the most important pests of saffron, was detected in both corms and soil in one plantation. The nematode Aphelenchoides blastophtorus, pest in ornamental plants, was also found in corms in two plantations. Potyvirus infections were occasionally detected in both the crop and in the weed Eruca vesicaria. The weeds Lolium rigidum and Descurainia sophia could cause diminutions of the yield by competition, therefore, weeding operations are necessary in autumn and winter. No harmful insects and phytopatogenic bacteria were detected. Because reproduction is only possible through corm propagation, it is advisable to analyse the plants, especially the corms, before being re-planted, in order to detect the presence of mites, nematodes and virus that could reduce yield and quality decreases.

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