Margaret Atim, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; and National Crops Resources Research Institute, Namulonge, Uganda;
Fen Beed, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture;
Geoffrey Tusiime, Makerere University, Kampala; and
Leena Tripathi and
Piet van Asten, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
The effect of exogenous applications of potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and nitrogen (N) on the susceptibility of four banana cultivars to Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) was studied. Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium with normal concentrations of K at 783 mg/liter, Ca at 121 mg/liter, and N at 841 mg/liter was modified to contain various concentrations of K, Ca, and N. Each nutrient was varied singly, each with three replicate experiments. The concentrations were K at 78, 157, 391, 783, 1,565, and 3,913 mg/liter; Ca at 12, 24, 60, 121, 241, and 603 mg/liter; and N at 84, 168, 420, 841, and 1,682 mg/liter. Plantlets were generated in vitro on normal MS medium and later exposed to the nutrient concentrations for a total of 8 weeks. Thereafter, they were artificially inoculated with Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum using an insulin syringe. In each nutrient, plantlets exposed to higher nutrient concentrations significantly (P < 0.0001) accumulated more nutrient in their tissues compared with those exposed to lesser nutrient concentrations. Wilt incidences were significantly reduced, and incubation periods (time from inoculation to appearance of first disease symptoms) increased, with increasing nutrient application. The study lays a background for in vivo studies aimed at management of BXW using nutrients, such as fertilizer application.