Poster Presentation Science Protecting Plant Health 2017

The survival of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense in plants co-habiting Australian banana farms (#302)

Shanara Veivers 1 , David East 1 , Wayne O'Neill 2 , Christine Goosem 2 , Anna Smyth 2 , Julie Pattemore 2 , Katherine Thomson 2
  1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Boogan, QLD, Australia
  2. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Biosecurity Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Panama disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc) is one of the most destructive banana diseases and poses a significant threat to the future of the $600 million Australian banana industry. While symptoms of Panama disease are only expressed in banana, the pathogen is known to survive on other plant species. Field surveys and a glasshouse experiment were conducted to identify alternative hosts of Foc Race 1 (R1) and Subtropical race 4 (STR4), which were used as an experimental surrogate for Tropical race 4 (TR4). Surveys of north Queensland banana farms were conducted to determine the most common weed and ground covers co-habiting commercial banana farms. Roots from twenty different species collected from three banana farms infested with R1 were analysed for the presence of the pathogen as an endophyte. Race 1 (VCG 0124) was isolated from four species commonly found co-habiting north Queensland banana farms; Cleome aculeata, Eleusine indica, Digitaria ciliaris and Youngia japonica. Eighteen plant species were identified as being the most common weed and ground cover species, or regarded as high risk due to their presence on TR4 infested farms in the Northern Territory and north Queensland. A glasshouse inoculation experiment using these plant species was conducted over a three month period to determine survival of STR4 (VCG 0120). Subtropical race 4 was isolated from all of the species included in the experiment, with recovery of the pathogen found to be more consistent from some species such as Cyperus brevifolius, than others. The identification of weed and ground cover species that allow Foc to survive and persist in banana plantations is an important component for inoculum control and long-term management of Panama disease.