January 21, 2018

What are the symptoms of banana Panama disease?

The first records of this disease were in Australia in 1876. The disease is so virulent that in the early 20th century it killed nearly every banana plant in Suriname.

In 1931, Scottish agronomist Clause Wardlaw found Panama disease in 15,000 acres on Jamaica and 50,000 acres in Panama, from which it derives its name.

The first external symptoms of Panama disease are a yellowing of the oldest leaves or a longitudinal splitting of the lower portion of the outer leaf sheaths on the pseudostem of plants that are usually more than 4 months old.

Yellowing begins with the oldest and progresses to the youngest leaves of the plant. This is followed by wilting and buckling of leaves at petiole base. As the disease progresses younger and younger leaves collapse, until the entire canopy consists of dead or dying leaves.

However, fruits are not infected and are not discolored. This distinguishes fusarium wilt of banana from bacterial wilt of same plant. Panama disease presently is controlled through the use of resistant (Cavendish) varieties.
What are the symptoms of banana Panama disease?
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