ASSESSING THREATS POSED BY DESTRUCTIVE BANANA PATHOGENS
Significant production of many tropical crops occurs in areas where their most damaging diseases do not occur. The continued production of these crops depends on the ongoing exclusion of the causal agents. The long-range dissemination of plant pathogens can result from natural phenomena, such as hurricanes and trade winds, or human activities. Human-assisted dissemination is usually unintentional, but intentional movement also occurs. In response to terrorist attacks, there has been heightened interest in understanding and preventing biological threats to world agriculture. Devising means to prevent introduction and developing contingency plans in case of arrival of the thousands of diseases that threaten major and minor crops is not feasible. Even when these diseases affect a major crop, such as banana, limited resources indicate that only the most important pathogens could be addressed. A recently published model for pathogen threat assessment is discussed. It was developed to evaluate threats posed by the deliberate introduction of pathogens to the USA, but can also be used to assess the unintentional global movement of pathogens. How the model and its associated criteria could be used by banana specialists is demonstrated with representative threats from the major groups of pathogens: Ralstonia solanacearum phylotype IV (blood bacterial wilt), Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xanthomonas wilt), tropical race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Fusarium wilt), Mycosphaerella eumusae (eumusae leaf spot), Guignardia musae (freckle), Pratylenchus coffeae (root-lesion nematode) and Banana bunchy top virus (bunchy top disease). Significant data gaps, as they relate to threat assessment, are discussed.
Ploetz, R.C. (2009). ASSESSING THREATS POSED BY DESTRUCTIVE BANANA PATHOGENS . Acta Hortic. 828, 245-252
Banana bunchy top virus, enemy release hypothesis, Guignardia musae, Mycosphaerella eumusae, Ralstonia solanacearum phylotype IV, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4, Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum