Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blueberry virus strikes US research center

DETROIT (AP) - Two destructive viruses have shown up in blueberry bushes in Michigan, the No. 1 U.S. producer of blueberries.

So far, the viruses have been found in just three places.

But one of those places is Michigan State University's agricultural research station in southwestern Michigan.

An outbreak of blueberry shock there is forcing scientists to destroy plants that represent two decades and millions of dollars of research.

The virus causes sudden death to flowers and leaves, although new ones can grow.

Another virus, called blueberry scorch, has been found on two southwestern Michigan farms. It has symptoms similar to blueberry shock.

The viruses have no known treatments.