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Are banana weevil borers a vector in spreading Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 in banana plantations?

Abstract

Fusarium wilt of banana is a destructive plant disease, caused by the soilborne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). Once established, it spreads rapidly, destroys the banana plants and builds up inoculum in the soil. To improve control and containment strategies, this study examined the pattern and possible methods of Foc tropical race 4 (Foc TR4) spread on a plantation. To date, root-to-root dispersal within the soil has been the presumed means of spread, but the fact that the spread of Foc TR4 occurred beyond neighbouring plants on the four fields assessed inferred that this is not the only mechanism. The banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus, is widespread in banana plantations and viable spores were found on the exoskeletons of ten per cent of the weevils, which infers that they may be a vector. Controlling vectors such as C. sordidus in banana plantations may therefore help minimise the spread of Foc TR4.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for providing the funds for this project. The authors would also like to acknowledge the support of the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program and the field assistance provided by Mark Smith (LaManna Banana) as well as Dr Mark Hearnden (Northern Territory Government) for statistical support.

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Correspondence to R. A. Meldrum.

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Meldrum, R.A., Daly, A.M., Tran-Nguyen, L.T.T. et al. Are banana weevil borers a vector in spreading Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 in banana plantations?. Australasian Plant Pathol. 42, 543–549 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13313-013-0214-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13313-013-0214-2

Keywords

  • Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4
  • Epidemiology
  • Cosmopolites sordidus