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Current situation of emerging banana viruses in Democratic Republic of Congo

Lyna Mukwa Fama Tongo: Plant Clinic International-Kinshasa

<div>Banana viruses are a major constraint for production and exchange of improvement banana germplasm in the world. Five viruses are regularly listed: <em>Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), Banana streak virus (BSV), Banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV), Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and Banana mild mosaic virus (BMMV)</em>. In Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), BBTV was reported in 1950 from Yangambi (Kisangani region) and remains the widespread banana virus described in Democratic Republic of Congo. However, in 2013, symptoms of an uncharacterized pathogens were observed in several banana plantations under natural conditions in Bas-Congo province. Consequently, Surveys were conducted in 2014 and 2015 in 50 separate locations of Bas Congo province. Symptomatic and asymptomatic banana and plantain leaf samples were collected within the Province to be screened against the main known viruses. Using Immuno-Capture Polymerisation Chain reaction (IC-PCR) and RT-PCR, the samples were analysed against the four-main Banana streak virus species: <em>Banana streak GF virus</em> (BSGF), <em>Banana streak OL virus</em> (BSOLV), <em>Banana streak IM virus</em> (BSIMV), Banana streak MY virus (BSMYV) and <em>Cucumber mosaic virus</em> (CMV). Results revealed that next to BBTV infection, both BSV and CMV also infect dessert bananas as well as plantains. The fluctuation of agro-ecological conditions could be one of the factors driving emerging viruses in the study area (Bas-Congo Province, Democratic Republic of Congo). This result suggests the need of the strong strategies for quarantine and resilience for climate change impact for local farms.</div>