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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 897: V International Symposium on Banana: ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Global Perspectives on Asian Challenges

FUSARIUM WILT: THE BANANA DISEASE THAT REFUSES TO GO AWAY

Authors:   R.C. Ploetz, A.C.L. Churchill
Keywords:   Panama disease
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.897.73
Abstract:
Fusarium wilt, also known as Panama disease, is the most important lethal disease of banana. This workshop began with a summary of the early history of, and research on, this important disease. Its current status and recent developments were then highlighted for different regions. The causal soilborne fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), is found in most banana-producing regions and is phylogenetically diverse. Pathotypes (“races”) that affect different groups of cultivars have been useful for describing host reactions and new disease outbreaks, even though races 1 and 2 are heterogeneous (i.e. numerous clonal lineages and vegetative compatibility groups or VCGs have been identified). In contrast, populations of the pathogen that affect the Cavendish subgroup are fairly well defined and are separated into subtropical race 4 (SR4) (VCG 0120 and related VCGs) and tropical race 4 (TR4) (VCG 01213-01216). Although SR4 and TR4 affect many of the same cultivars, they interact significantly with temperature: TR4 kills plants in the tropics, but SR4 only affects plants that have been predisposed to disease by cold temperatures (in areas with pronounced winters). TR4 is decimating Cavendish monocultures in southern Asia and would affect 85% of global production were it disseminated more widely. Measures are needed to diagnose, interdict and manage TR4 and other variants of Foc worldwide. To that end, recent research to interdict, understand and manage this disease was discussed. The workshop concluded with an open forum/discussion on results that were presented during the symposium and on key issues and data gaps that should be addressed by future work.

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