Efforts to Mitigate INSV Receive Additional Funding Support

Brian GermanField & Row Crops, Industry, Leafy Greens

Multiple entities are combining efforts to help address the threat of Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV). The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) is supporting work at UC Davis to increase crop resistance to the virus. A total of $99,000 in grant funding has been awarded through FFAR’s Rapid Outcomes from Agricultural Research (ROAR) program. Matching funds are also being provided by UC Davis and the California Leafy Greens Research Board (CLGRB). In total, $198,000 is being committed to the project.


While 2023 did not start off as a severe year for INSV infections, the virus remains a substantial threat. In 2020 alone INSV caused $100 million in losses. The efforts underway at UC Davis to address the impact of the virus include looking into resistant genes and slowing the spread of resistance-breaking strains of INSV. “Support from the ROAR program and CLGRB is allowing us to focus on efficient screening of germplasm for resistance and development of tools for rapid breeding of resistant varieties,” said Dr. Richard Michelmore, who is leading the UC Davis researchers.

A variety of approaches are being taken by different organizations and institutions to help mitigate the impact of INSV. Treatment efficacy trials are underway along with education and outreach programs to help growers understand the issue. There are also efforts to study thrip populations to better understand how the virus is transmitted.

According to UC Davis, 70 percent of U.S. lettuce is produced in California, with 30 percent being produced in Arizona. INSV presents a substantial risk to farmers and the entire lettuce industry, valued at more than $2 billion annually. Investigating all options to protect plants from INSV will be vital for protecting farmer’s viability moving forward.

“Mitigating the spread of INSV is critical for lettuce producers,” FFAR’s Chief Scientific Officer Angela Records said in a news release. “This research will lead to lettuce varieties that control the virus’ spread, ensure the long-term sustainability of this important food crop and protect farmers’ livelihoods.”

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West