Marasmiellus, coconut seedlings, Malaysia, Solomon Is Minimize
September 2012. A paper was sent to pestNet entitled: "First Report of Marasmiellus palmivorus Causing Post-emergence Damping Off on Coconut seedlings in Malaysia" by Bushra Subair Abdulsada Almaliky, Zainal Mior Ahmad, Jugah Kadir & Mui Yun Wong, which appeared in Plant Disease (Published by The American Phytopathological Society) http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-07-12-0627-PDN.

Hugh Harries (Coconut list) who sent the article said that he had not read the article so he did not know if it refers to earlier work in Malaysia, namely:

  • Singh G, Chan E, Abbas AM (1980) Marasmiellus pre-emergence shoot rot of coconuts. Perak Planters' Assoc.J. 1980, 66-70.
  • Singh G, Chan E (1982) Marasmiellus embryo and shoot rot of coconuts. MARDI Nat. Coconut Conf., Kuala Lumpur.

He ask the question is the Malaysian Marasmiellus the same as that found Solomon Islands?

  • Jackson GVH, Firman ID (1979) Coconut disease caused by Marasmiellus cocophilus in Solomon Islands. SPC Information Circular 83, 1-5.
  • Jackson GVH (1986) Marasmiellus cocophilus on coconuts in the Solomon islands. UNDP/FAO/GTZ/IRETA Regional Crop Protection Workshop Apia (Samoa) pp 152-159.
  • Jackson GVH, McKenzie EHC (1988) Marasmiellus cocophilus on coconuts in Solomon Islands. FAO Plant Prot Bull 36, 91-97.


In addition, he said that the same infection was in Thailand at that time, and he had previously seen it in Jamaica (where it had not been a problem), so he offered a suggestion to control it without using fungicides:

  • Harries, H.C. (1983) A ten point coconut nursery programme to avoid germination problems. Planter 59, 207-214.

Finally, he said it is his belief that the practice of trimming a slice of husk at the eye end of the nut actually increases the risk of fungal spores reaching the embryo. I wonder if the latest publication has something more to say on the subject?

In response, one of the authors of the research in Solomon Islands said the following:

In answer to your question, it is likely that M. cocophilus and M. palmivorus are different, but i am not sure if M palmivorus is the same as M inoderma - but they probably are. M. cocophilus had only been seen in East Africa before it was found in Solomon Islands, in Levers' nursery at Yandina. To make matters worse, it occurred just at the time that Levers were replanting the Guadalcanal Plains. Bok and Ivory in their AAB paper said that the fungus caused a lethal bole rot in East Africa! In Solomon Islands this was sufficient to result in a quarantine embargo preventing the distribution of nuts from Yandina to any other part of Solomon Islands.


However, research showed that it was difficult to replicate the symptoms of M. cocophilus in Solomon Islands to the extent that occurred during the outbreak in the Yandina nursery or those that Bok and Ivory reported. Later, of course, other lethal diseases were found in the area where the lethal bole rot occurred in East Africa, so the question was whether M. cocophilus cause the death of these palms or something else?


The other thing that swung opinion and helped in the decision to lift the quarantine embargo was that the palms that recovered from the nursery outbreak in Yandina went on to grow normally.


There's a fact sheet on the fungus See http://www.pestnet.org or http://issuu.com/terracircle/docs/extensionfs - no. 69.

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