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Agri agents ready control over banana wilt disease

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Cagayan de Oro City (12 February) -- No disease outbreaks have yet alarmed the banana areas in region 10, but experts and agricultural agents are optimizing controls to contain the banana fusarium wilt disease in its cage.

Banana Fusarium Wilt, also known as Panama Disease is one of the most widespread and destructive diseases of banana world wide. The causal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc) attacks the vascular system of bananas thus obstructing uptake of water and soil nutrients resulting in wilting and death of the plants and loss of fruits. It has been known that the pathogen survives in the soil for many years even without its primary host growing in the area.

External symptoms include the wilting, yellowing of the foliage where the oldest leaves are the first to turn yellow, vascular discoloration on leaf bases, splitting of pseudostem base, irregular pale margins, narrowing, burning and ripping of lamina in newly-grown leaves and petiole buckling. Internal symptoms can be determined by slicing off the lower portion of the corm horizontally until the transverse cut is about of the way up the corm.

The disease traces its beginnings at the Western Hemisphere, particularly Costa Rica and Panama in 1890. Despite its widespread distribution, the disease is best known for its impact on a relatively small segment of world production, and export trades.

In the Philippines, Les and Serrano studies in 1920 accounts that the banana disease is first reported on that year on cultivar Latundan in Los Banos and Calamba, Province of Laguna and municipalities of Batangas.

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