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Management of Fusarium wilt of banana: A review with special reference to tropical race 4

Ploetz, Randy C.
Crop protection 2015 v.73 pp. 7-15
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, Fusarium wilt, Musa, bananas, crop production, cultivars, disease control, exports, food crops, host range, hosts, pathogens, subtropics, tropics, Panama
Banana (Musa spp.) is an important cash and food crop in the tropics and subtropics. Fusarium wilt, which is also known as Panama disease, is caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). It is one of the most destructive diseases of this crop, and has a relatively wide host range. Its greatest impact was on the early ‘Gros Michel’-based export trades. Resistant cultivars of the Cavendish subgroup were used to replace ‘Gros Michel,’ but are now succumbing to a new variant of the pathogen, tropical race 4 (TR4). Although TR4 is only found in the Eastern Hemisphere, it threatens global export and small-holder production of the Cavendish cultivars. Management of this disease is largely restricted to excluding the pathogen from non-infested areas and the use of resistant cultivars where Foc is established. The perennial production of this crop and the polycyclic nature of this disease hinder the development of other management strategies. Measures that are effective against annual or short-lived hosts of these diseases are usually ineffective against Fusarium wilt of banana. Effective biological, chemical and cultural measures are not available, despite a substantial, positive literature on these topics. Critical evaluations of, and realistic expectations for, these measures are needed. Better resistance is needed to this disease, especially that that is caused by TR4.