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Infection Studies of Mycosphaerella fijiensis on Banana and the Control of Black Sigatoka with Chlorothalonil

November 1998 , Volume 82 , Number  11
Pages  1,185 - 1,190

J. R. Washington , J. Cruz , F. Lopez , and M. Fajardo , ISK Biosciences Corporation, La Lima, Honduras

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Accepted for publication 3 August 1998.

Infection studies with Mycosphaerella fijiensis, causal agent of black Sigatoka disease of banana (Musa AAA), demonstrated that the abaxial leaf surface is the primary infection site. Inoculation of banana plants with M. fijiensis ascospores on the abaxial surface of young leaves resulted in disease symptoms in 100% of the leaves inoculated within 18 to 30 days; whereas only 5% of the leaves inoculated on the adaxial surface showed black Sigatoka symptoms within 10 weeks. Disease symptoms appeared more rapidly on the new, emerging leaves than on the first and second fully expanded leaves. Application of chlorothalonil (1.08 kg a.i. ha-1) to the abaxial surface of emerging leaves resulted in 99 to 100% disease control in the treated area. When the emerging leaf was not sprayed until fully expanded, disease control was reduced to 76 to 80%. Application of chlorothalonil to the adaxial surface of banana leaves had little or no impact on disease control. Chlorothalonil arrested hyphal growth when applied to banana leaves after ascospores had already germinated and reduced the rate of lesion expansion when applied to the abaxial leaf surface after symptom appearance. Chlorothalonil was less effective than systemic fungicides in reducing production of M. fijiensis pseudothecia in infected tissue. When systemic and protectant fungicides were applied to infected leaf tissue, none of the fungicides affected the viability of ascospores that were discharged from pseudothecia produced in that tissue. For successful control of black Sigatoka with chlorothalonil, deposition of the fungicide on the abaxial leaf surface is essential.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society