APS Abstract of Presentation
Tropical Race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense causing new Panama wilt epidemics in Cavendish varieties in the Philippines
A. B. MOLINA (1), E. G. Fabregar (4), V. Sinohin (1), Lorna Herradura (4), G. Fourie (3), A. Viljoen (2)
(1) Bioversity International-Philippines, Los Banos, Philippines; (2) Department of Plant Pathology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa; (3) FABI, University of Pretoria, South Africa; (4) Lapanday Foods Corporation, Davao Philippines
Tropical Race 4 (TR4), the virulent strain of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, is a serious threat to the export Cavendish-based banana industry. TR4 has not been reported in the Philippines until recently when Panama wilt infections were observed in several commercial Cavendish farms. To confirm the identity of the new epidemics, a survey was conducted from September to December 2005. Infected plants showing the typical Panama wilt symptoms were collected from several commercial farms. Samples were sent to the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria, South Africa for Vegetative Compatibility Group (VCG) analyses. Results confirmed that the pathogens isolated from infected samples were identified to belong to VCG 1213/16 complex, the VCG known to be associated with TR4. To quantify the severity of epidemics, the incidence of Panama wilt cases were monitored in two farms. The incidence of Panama wilt increased from 700 cases in 2005 to 15,000 cases in 2007. The new TR4 epidemic threatens the long term sustainability of the Philippine banana industry and its dominance in the banana exports in Asia. The spread of TR4 is also a threat as a transboundary pathogen to other Cavendish producing countries and continents.