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Biology and Epidemiology of Banana Blood Disease

7 June 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Thesis Review Seminar

Monday 7th June, 11am – 12noon, Ecosciences precinct, Room 1.B.603

Zoom link: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/83505375024

Presented by: Jane Ray, Centre for Horticultural Science

Advisory team: André Drenth, Siti Subandiyah, Lilia Carvalhais, Alistair McTaggart.

About this seminar

Blood disease of banana is a bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia syzygii subsp. celebesensis. It causes significant crop losses in Indonesia and Malaysia, and is a priority pathogen absent from Australia. Blood disease has characteristic symptoms including wilt, chlorosis and necrosis of leaves, red/brown vascular staining, and pulp-rot of fruits. Blood disease, first reported in 1907 from southern Sulawesi, has significantly expanded its geographic range and is an emerging threat to banana production in the region.  Due to the past limited distribution of Blood disease, its disease cycle and many aspects of its biology and epidemiology are unknown. The overall aim of this thesis was to understand the biology and epidemiology of Blood disease. Specifically we sought to (i) determine the current distribution and patterns of dispersal, (ii) investigate modes of infection and the inflorescence infection courts, (iii) determine modes of transmission, and (iv) develop and validate diagnostic assays for detection and accurate identification of the pathogen.

Blood disease is a high-priority pathogen and all surveys, field trials and in planta experiments occurred in Indonesia. We used a field trial with over 320 banana plants and potted plants and demonstrated that Cavendish is susceptible to Blood disease and that infection can occur through the male and female parts of the banana inflorescence. We demonstrated that local dispersal is predominantly through mechanical transmission of the bacterium by insects, birds, bats and tools from diseased to healthy banana plants. Long-distance dispersal is through the movement of contaminated planting materials. Our findings provide insight into the biology and epidemiology of banana Blood disease, enabling the development of evidence based disease management and eradication strategies. Extension of these disease management practices is urgently required across SE Asia to manage the disease and prevent spread to areas still free of Blood disease.



7 June 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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