Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 181–193 | Cite as

Black Sigatoka disease: New technologies to strengthen eradication strategies in Australia

  • J. HendersonEmail author
  • J. A. Pattemore
  • S. C. Porchun
  • H. L. Hayden
  • S. Van Brunschot
  • K. R. E. Grice
  • R. A. Peterson
  • S. R. Thomas-Hall
  • E. A. B. Aitken


In 2001, an incursion of Mycosphaerella fijiensis, the causal agent of black Sigatoka, was detected in Australia’s largest commercial banana growing region, the Tully Banana Production Area in North Queensland. An intensive surveillance and eradication campaign was undertaken which resulted in the reinstatement of the disease-free status for black Sigatoka in 2005. This was the first time black Sigatoka had ever been eradicated from commercial plantations. The success of the eradication campaign was testament to good working relationships between scientists, growers, crop monitors, quarantine regulatory bodies and industry. A key contributing factor to the success was the deployment of a PCR-based molecular diagnostic assay, developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Plant Protection (CRCTPP). This assay complemented morphological identification and allowed high throughput diagnosis of samples facilitating rapid decision-making during the eradication campaign. This paper describes the development and successful deployment of molecular diagnostics for black Sigatoka. Shortcomings in the gel-based assay are discussed and the advantages of highly specific real-time PCR assays, capable of differentiating between Mycosphaerella fijiensis, Mycosphaerella musicola and Mycosphaerella eumusae are outlined. Real-time assays may provide a powerful diagnostic tool for applications in surveillance, disease forecasting and resistance testing for Sigatoka leaf spot diseases. Australasian Plant Pathology Society 2006


Australasian Plant Pathology Leaf Spot Leaf Spot Disease Eradication Campaign Cercospora Leaf Spot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Henderson
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. A. Pattemore
    • 1
  • S. C. Porchun
    • 1
  • H. L. Hayden
    • 2
  • S. Van Brunschot
    • 1
  • K. R. E. Grice
    • 3
  • R. A. Peterson
    • 3
  • S. R. Thomas-Hall
    • 4
  • E. A. B. Aitken
    • 4
  1. 1.Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Plant ProtectionIndooroopillyAustralia
  2. 2.School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Tropical AgricultureQueensland Department of Primary Industries and FisheriesMareebaAustralia
  4. 4.School of Integrative BiologyThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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