Stem rots of oil palm caused by Ganoderma boninense: Pathogen biology and epidemiology


Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) has been grown in Papua New Guinea since the early 1960s. The most important disease of oil palm in PNG is a stem rot of the palm base. This is the same disease that constitutes a major threat to sustainable oil palm production in SE Asia. Investigations into the causal pathogen have revealed that the stem rots in PNG are caused predominantly by the basidiomycete Ganoderma boninense, with a minor pathogen identified as G. tornatum G. tornatum was found to have a broad host range whereas G. boninense appears to be restricted to palms. The population structure of G. boninense was investigated using inter-fertility studies between isolates collected from basal stem rots on oil palm. Although the G. boninense field populations are predominantly comprised of distinct individuals, a number of isolates were found that share single mating alleles. This indicates that out-crossing had occurred over several generations in the resident or wild population of G. boninense prior to colonization of oil palm. No direct hereditary relationship between isolates on neighbouring diseased palms was found, although an indirect link between isolates causing upper stem rot and basal stem rot was detected.

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Pilotti, C. Stem rots of oil palm caused by Ganoderma boninense: Pathogen biology and epidemiology. Mycopathologia 159, 129–137 (2005).

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  • biology
  • epidemiology
  • Ganoderma
  • stem rots