Dedication: Rosario Provvidenti

Thomas A. Zitter

Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Additional index words. virus, plant, cucurbit, melon, watermelon, squash, cucumber

Abstract. Few people can name an individual who has made more of a contribution to the theme of resistance to viral diseases of vegetables, including cucurbits, than is illustrated by the professional career of Rosario (Rosie) Provvidenti. Hard working, and just as fast talking, Provvidenti arrived on the scene in 1954 as an Experimentalist at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Plant Pathology, located in Geneva, N.Y., and has been nonstop since that time. Often referred to as a "Whirling Dervish", Rosie has been a spirited colleague in Plant Pathology on the Geneva Campus of Cornell University for 44 years. Now the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor Emeritus, it is only appropriate that we recognized his contributions to virus disease resistance in cucurbits at Cucurbitaceae '98.

His work resulted in virus-resistant varieties of green pea, black-eyed pea, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, soybean, broad bean, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, Chinese cabbage, and watermelon.

In addition to his work in New York state, Provvidenti had active interests in international agriculture, and the identification of valuable sources of genetic virus resistance from worldwide vegetable germplasm. In 1978, he spent six months in Cyprus identifying viruses of vegetables and some ornamentals. In 1980, because of his pioneering research on resistance to virus diseases in Chinese cabbage, he was invited to speak at the First International Symposium on Chinese cabbage in Japan. In Korea and China, he presented a series of lectures on resistance to virus diseases in vegetables, and many of his lecture materials were translated into the Chinese language. He traveled extensively in Turkey and Greece, collecting seeds for deposit in USDA germplasm facilities. Since 1983, Provvidenti has served as a consultant on viral diseases of vegetables to the government of Egypt. He continues to maintain close contacts with researchers in both China and Taiwan to the present day. Rosie and his wife still reside in Geneva, and are the parents of two grown children.

Sources of resistance to cucurbit virus diseases

Although Provvidenti has made many contributions to the identification of genetic sources of resistance to virus diseases in many vegetable

Rosie Provvidenti was born in Gela, Italy, on 18 July 1921. He received his BS degree from Catania University in Italy, and his doctorate in microbiology from Palermo University in 1947. Rosie joined the Department of Plant Pathology in Geneva, N.Y., in 1954, and now holds the distinguished rank of Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor Emeritus. He became the 10th recipient of this professorship that was established in 1972 in honor of Liberty Hyde Bailey. Bailey was a professor of horticulture from 1888 to 1913, and dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University from 1903 until his retirement in 1913. Recognized internationally, Bailey was a teacher, scientist, explorer, administrator, public servant, author, and editor. It is fitting that Rosie achieved this coveted award.

Around Geneva, Rosie is known as the plant doctor, a name he acquired from Geneva grocers because of his interest in their produce. He would take their misshapen, diseased vegetables back to his lab to grind them up and isolate viruses for his studies. His interests quickly spread to surrounding New York state vegetable farms, working with cucurbits, dry and snap beans, several crucifers, lettuce, peas, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and other crops. His major research objective was the identification of viruses occurring in vegetable crops and their biological control. He directed his search for natural sources of resistance utilizing domestic and foreign introductions of cultivated and wild species of the vegetables of his interest.

Cucurbitaceae '98


Table 1. Resistance to viruses in selected cucurbit species identified by R. Provvidenti and colleagues, 1977­98.z

Virus Sources and genetics of resistance Reference

Cucumis melo and other Cucumis sp.

Squash mosaic C. metuliferus, PI 292190 (S. Africa) Provvidenti et al., 1978

C. melo var. makuwa 'China 51' Provvidenti, 1998

Papaya ringspot C. metuliferus, PI 292190 (South Africa) Provvidenti and Robinson, 1974

PI 292190, single dominant gene Provvidenti and Robinson, 1977

Zucchini yellow mosaic PI 414723, immune to most U.S.A. strains Provvidenti et al., 1984

Citrullus lanatus and other Citrullus sp.

Zucchini yellow mosaic Egusi (C. colocynthis) from Nigeria Provvidenti et al., 1984

Cucurbita sp.

Cucumber mosaic C. ecuadorensis, C. martinezii and

11 other wild species Provvidenti et al., 1978

C. maxima (Argentina), C. moschata (Nigeria) Provvidenti, 1982; 1990

Squash mosaic C. ecuadorensis, C. martinezii, C. okeechobeensis Provvidenti et al., 1978

Papaya ringspot C. ecuadorensis, C. ficifolia, C. foetidissima Provvidenti et al., 1978

Tolerance in C. maxima; Zapallito Redondo

(Uruguay) Provvidenti, 1982

C. moschata (Nigeria) Provvidenti et al., 1984

Watermelon mosaic C. ecuadorensis, C. ficifolia, C. foetidissima,

and C. pedatifolia Provvidenti et al., 1978

C. maxima (China) Provvidenti, 1982

C. moschata (Nigeria) Provvidenti et al., 1984

Zucchini yellow mosaic C. ecuadorensis, C. moschata (Nigeria) Provvidenti et al., 1984

Cucumis sativus

Papaya ringspot In Suriname, single recessive gene Wang et al., 1984

Zucchini yellow mosaic In TMG-1, single recessive gene Provvidenti, 1985, 1987

zResistances in bottle gourd and wax gourd are not included in the interest of space.

crops, perhaps his greatest contributions have come with cucurbit virus diseases. A total of 32 virus diseases have been reported to affect cucurbits (Provvidenti, 1996). For well over 20 years, Provvidenti has been identifying sources of resistance in assorted cucurbits including bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), wax gourd (Benincasa hispida), loofah gourd (Luffa aegyptiaca), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), melon (Cucumis melo and other Cucumis spp.), squash (Cucurbita spp.), and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus and Citrullus sp.) (Provvidenti, 1986; 1993). A list of sources and resistance to virus diseases in selected cucurbits and selected references by Provvidenti and colleagues on resistances to viruses in cucurbits appears in Table 1.

Literature cited

Provvidenti, R. 1982. Sources of resistance and tolerance to viruses in accessions of Cucurbita maxima. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rpt. 5:46­47.

Provvidenti, R. 1985. Sources of resistance to viruses in two accessions of Cucumis sativus. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rpt. 8:12.

Provvidenti, R. 1986. Viral diseases of cucurbits and sources of resistance. Food Fert. Technol. Ctr., Taiwan. Tech. Bul. 93.

Provvidenti, R. 1987. Inheritance of resistance to a strain of zucchini yellow mosaic virus in cucumber. HortScience 22:102­103.

Provvidenti, R. 1993. Resistance to viral diseases of cucurbits, p. 8­43 In: M.M. Kyle (ed.). Resistance to viral diseases of vegetables: Genetics and breeding. Timber Press, Portland, Ore.

Provvidenti, R. 1996. Diseases caused by viruses, p. 37­45 In: T.A. Zitter, D.L. Hopkins, and C.E. Thomas (eds.). Compendium of cucurbit diseases. APS Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Provvidenti, R. 1998. A source of a high level of tolerance to squash mosaic virus in a melon from China. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rpt. (in press).

Provvidenti, R. and R.W. Robinson. 1977. Inheritance of resistance to watermelon mosaic virus 1 in Cucumis metuliferus. J. Hered. 68:56­57.

Provvidenti, R. and R.W. Robinson. 1974. Resistance to squash mosaic virus and watermelon mosaic virus 1 in Cucumis metuliferus. Plant Dis. Rptr. 58:735­738.

Provvidenti, R., D. Gonsalves, and H.S. Humaydan. 1984. Occurrence of zucchini yellow mosaic virus in cucurbits from Connecticut, New York, Florida, and California. Plant Dis. 68:443­446.

Provvidenti, R., R.W. Robinson, and H.M. Munger. 1978. Resistance in feral species to six viruses infecting Cucurbita. Plant Dis. Rptr. 62:326­329.

Provvidenti. R. 1990. Viral diseases and genetic sources of resistance in Cucurbita species. In: D.M. Bates, R.W. Robinson, and C. Jeffrey. Biology and utilization of the Cucurbitaceae. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.

Wang, Y..J., R. Provvidenti, and R.W. Robinson. 1984. Inheritance of resistance to watermelon mosaic 1 in cucumber. HortScience 19:587­588.

Cucurbitaceae '98