Fine-tuning banana Xanthomonas wilt control options over the past decade in East and Central Africa uri icon


  • Xanthomonas wilt, caused by Xanthomonascampestris pv. musacearum has, since 2001, becomethe most important and widespread disease of Musa inEast and Central Africa. Over the past decade, newresearch findings and especially feedback from smallscalefarmers have helped in fine-tuning Xanthomonaswilt control options. During the initial years of theXanthomonas wilt epidemic in East Africa, the completeuprooting of diseased mats and the burning orburying of plant debris was advocated as part of acontrol package which included the use of clean gardentools and early removal of male buds to prevent insectvector transmission. Uprooting a complete mat (i.e. themother plant and a varying number of lateral shoots) isunderstandably time-consuming and labour intensiveand becomes very cumbersome when a large numberof diseased mats have to be removed. Recent researchfindings suggest that Xcm bacteria do not colonize alllateral shoots (i.e. incomplete systemicity occurs) andeven when present that this does not necessarily lead tosymptom expression and disease. This led to a newcontrol method whereby only the visibly diseased plants that the continued removal of only the diseased plants ina field will reduce the inoculum level and will bringdown disease incidence to an acceptable level. Thismethod is less labour intensive and takes a short timecompared to the removal of a complete mat. However,single diseased stem removal needs to go hand in handwith prevention of new infections that can occur throughthe use of contaminated garden tools or through insectvector transmission. Novel transgenic approaches arealso discussed. This paper presents an overview of pastand ongoing research towards the development of amore practical and less demanding control strategy forXanthomonas wilt

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014

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