Recently, the find of Fusarium oxysporum f.
sp. cubense tropicalrace 4 in
Cavendish bananas was reported for the first time. The fungus causes Fusarium
wilt, also known as Panama disease. Along Turkeys Mediterranean coast the Cavendish banana is a valuable
agricultural crop. In 2018 banana plants in greenhouses showing severe wilt
symptoms and collapse were investigated. The fungi isolated from the banana
plants were identified with molecular techniques and showed to be TR4.
This find marks a further
expand of TR4’s dissemination into the Middle-East.
Production of the Cavendish
banana along the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey is around 369,000 tons, which
meets 67.7% of the domestic demand. In banana greenhouses in cities of Alanya,
Anamur and Gazipasa, plants showing severe wilt symptoms and collapse were
detected in March 2018. Yellowing of the oldest leaves that split at their
base, brownish streaks of the vascular tissue of pseudostems, and root necrosis
were observed on Cavendish ‘Grand Naine’.
Read the first report of TR4 in Turkey in the Plant disease magazine here.
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As keynote speaker Gert Kema took part in the 1st Global Fusarium Tropical Race 4 meeting themed “Threats and opportunities’. He talked about the current status of molecular diagnostic methods of TR4 and in particular whether Wageningen University & Research (WUR) can be an international diagnostic center.
During the meeting he explained that diagnostics should always be one step ahead of biological diversity, which he underpinned by recent reports of inaccurate detection of TR4 and how this was tackled by a recently published new TR4 diagnostic based on new specific genomic positions, derived from a genomic database that was developed over the last couple of years.
Read more in this article.
He showed that WUR has always been at the
forefront of innovative detection methods and that since TR4 surfaced for the
first time outside South East Asia, which was published in 2014, the number of
positive cases has rapidly increased, which can be contributed to the rapid new
TR4 diagnostic that was published in 2010. Hence, WUR is ready and capable to
serve the community as a diagnostic center. He finished his contribution by
indicating that the sector needs disruptive change in TR4 prevention, banana
breeding and overall R&D.
Gert Kema’s keynote speech was held at the 1st Global Fusarium Tropical Race 4 meeting in Miami, USA, on November 22, 2019, which was organized by CORBANA.
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