Banana disorder: Pohnpei Minimize

 

February 2001. A disorder of banana was reported from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. The youngest leaf emerges, but does not unfurl. This problem was not diagnosed at the time, but it is likely that it is caused by Marasmiellus inoderma, which is common on banana in Pohnpei. The disorder is exacerbated by the exceptionally high rainfall of the State (>5000 mm).

More information was required, for instance:

Does the plant break off at the base of the pseudostem, or decay and die in an upright position? When sectioned what are the symptoms in the affected pseudostems. Are any bacterial odours present? Do the suckers (= followers) die too or just the affected pseudostem? What damage is present in the corm of affected plants? Are banana weevil borers causing significant damage? Is the disease found in new or old plantings?

Later, in June 2002, more photos were posted of the condition, which was thought to be caused by the fungus, Marasmiellus inoderma. However, Pohnpei first thought that the problem was Fusarium oxysporum. Cutting the stem revealed red-brown stains in the upper part and the outside of the stem showed splitting and a dark brown discoloration. These symptoms were not those of Panama disease.

It was suggested that pieces of the stem were incubated at high humidtiy to see if toadstools of M inodermis develop.

Similar rots in the Northern Territory, Australia, have been put down to secondary rots after damage by eg a machete.

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