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An Application of Space-Time Analysis to Improve the Epidemiological Understanding of the Papaya-Papaya Yellow Crinkle Pathosystem
Plant Health Progress (2007)
  • Forrest W. Nutter, Jr., Iowa State University
  • Paul D. Esker, Iowa State University
  • Karen S. Gibb, Charles Darwin University
  • Philip M. Dixon, Iowa State University

Yellow crinkle disease of papaya is a serious threat to papaya production in Australia. Space-time point pattern analysis was used to study the spatial and temporal dependence of two phytoplasma strains that cause yellow crinkle: tomato big bud (TBB) and sweet potato little leaf V4 (SPLL-V4). Incidence data for both phytoplasma strains were obtained from a field study conducted in Katherine, NT, Australia, between January 1996 and May 1999. The primary ecological and epidemiological question of interest was to elucidate the scale of spatial or spatio-temporal aggregation of phytoplasma-infected papaya plants. The hypothesis was that there would be a contagion process, where TBB- and SPLL-V4-infected papaya would be aggregated and not random. To test this hypothesis, a point pattern spatial analysis using Monte Carlo simulation was initially applied to the incidence data. Results of this analysis suggested that SPLL-V4 infected papaya plants displayed aggregation with spatial dependence up to 30 m (10 to 15 plants along or across rows), whereas there was not strong evidence to suggest that TBB-infected papaya plants were aggregated. However, when a space-time point pattern analysis was subsequently used to simultaneously test for the interaction between space and time, there was strong evidence (P < 0.01 for SPLL-V4 and P < 0.10 for TBB) to suggest a space-time interaction for both SPLL-V4 and TBB. For SPLL-V4, a space-time risk window of approximately 10 months and 20 m was detected, whereas for TBB, this risk window was 5 months and 10 m. The results of these studies support the hypothesis that papaya infection by both phytoplasma strains appears to be the result of a contagion process, providing support for the contention that insect vectors are the most likely mechanism for acquisition, dispersal, and transmission.

Publication Date
July, 2007
Citation Information
Forrest W. Nutter, Paul D. Esker, Karen S. Gibb and Philip M. Dixon. "An Application of Space-Time Analysis to Improve the Epidemiological Understanding of the Papaya-Papaya Yellow Crinkle Pathosystem" Plant Health Progress Vol. Online (2007)
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