Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
How to Recognise Banana Xanthomonas Wilt
Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum
Recognize the problem
wilt (BXW) is a devastating bacterial disease of banana and plantain which is
widespread in Central and East Africa. Once an outbreak occurs on a farm, significant
losses are inevitable. All types of banana are susceptible, no cultivars have
been found to be resistant. This disease is not present in Ghana or West
Africa yet but be vigilant and familiarise yourself with the symptoms.
distinctive symptom is premature ripening of the fruit. Single bananas start
to ripen while the rest of the bunch remains green and the inside of the
fruits have a brown/black discolouration (Figure 1). The male flower bud
turns black, shrivels and eventually dies. Young emerging leaves turn yellow,
wilt, fold over and collapse. If the fruit and leaf stalk or pseudostem of an
infected plant is cut, cream/yellow bacterial ooze (discharge) starts to flow
from the wound (Figure 2). Fusarium wilt (or Panama disease) can cause
similar symptoms to BXW but Fusarium wilt causes yellowing to older leaves
first, does not affect the fruit and causes a dark staining inside the pseudostem
which is absent in BXW.
spread by the bacterial ooze from infected plants. Cutlasses or farm tools
used on infected plants can transfer the disease to healthy plants. Insects
such as bees and flies which visit the male flower can transmit the bacteria
from plant to plant. Planting material taken from a diseased plant may not
have symptoms so make sure you know the source of your planting material.
see the symptoms of this disease please report it to your local PPRSD office.
Once the plant is
infected, it will die
- Rogue infected plants
immediately they are seen, cut the plants into pieces and bury deep outside
the banana farm
- Remove the male
bud before it opens when the last hand is exposed. The risk of the spread of
the disease is reduced if de-budding is done with a forked stick rather than
with a cutlass.
- Infected farm
tools such as cutlasses should be disinfected with 10% household bleach (Parazone)
or sterilized using heat from a hot fire
- DO NOT using
suckers (planting materials) from an infected farm to start a new plantation
When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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