Finding wild banana accessions infected with Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc) causing Fusarium wilt of Panama disease in the tropical rain forest. That’s the goal of the second expedition PhD student Nani Maryani Martawi is conducting now in the Eastern Indonesian islands Papua, Sulawesi and Flores.

Maryani: After my first expedition last summer in Borneo and Java, I am now again in Indonesia for a second expedition on the Eastern part of my home country. During this expedition, I collect together with other experts banana corms and leaves from banana plants infected with Panama disease, that stand in the outer circle of the rain forest. We will take soil samples as well.

DNA analysis
When I am back at Wageningen University, I will analyse the samples in order to extend our understanding of the genome diversity of Fusarium in banana. We expect a huge diversity since the host and pathogen originate both from this region. With this information we will better understand the current Fusarium epidemic that is largely driven by TR4 strains. Moreover, it is extremely useful to have a clear picture of the overall Foc diversity and its pathogenic potential.

Genome-wide diversity of Banana and Panama disease
Maryani started almost two years ago with her PhD that is part of the Scientific Program between Indonesia and The Netherlands (SPIN), funded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Feel free to contact Nani about her PhD project.

On the picture: Maryani and others joining the expedition holding a banana pseudostem infected with Panama disease.


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