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Fusarium wilt in bananas

Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense
Bolivia

Recognize the problem

Leaves affected by fusarium wilt first become slightly yellow. Then, they become more yellow and the older leaves, which are affected first, will collapse, leaving just the younger green leaves.  The soil becomes contaminated and the farmer suffers yield loss.

When the stem is cut open, is the inside is visibly discoloured, ranging from pale yellow to a dark red or almost black colour. Parts of the root turn dark or bluish black. The ripening of the bunch is delayed. The bunch is smaller than usual and has decreased weight.

The disease damages the roots and the stem, which is reflected in the leaves. It starts with slight yellowing on the edge. Soon it moves towards the vein, resulting in a dry light brown edge.

Background

Fusarium wilt is caused by the fungus Fusarium. The disease is worse in humid conditions.

Management

  • Host resistance is the best way to avoid the disease. Plant Cavendish-type resistant varieties; do not plant Gros Michel because it is susceptible.
  • Establish suitable drainage and irrigation.
  • Cut and remove diseased plants.
  • Fusarium wilt is difficult to control. Seedlings are disinfected to prevent it. Mix 100 L water with 250 g Benomyl and soak seedlings for 15 min. After drying, place them for draining and drying.  If you plant a disinfected seedling, you will have a healthy plant.
  • Avoid planting in a field that has been infected with Fusarium before.

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: Bolivia

Authors: Dalcy Montenegro Coca, Raquel Pardo
Autonomous Department Government of Santa Cruz
tel: 591 76642567 email: dmontenegro@ciatbo.org

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