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< prev - next > Agriculture Cultivation Fruit Cultivation enhanced protection for tissue cultured banana plants (Printable PDF)
IInnnnoovvaattiioonn BBrriieeff
No. 10, February 2011
Enhanced protection for tissue cultured banana
plants T. Dubois, D. Coyne, A. zum Felde
CGIAR Systemwide Program
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global partnership that draws
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About one-third of the global banana production comes from sub-Saharan Africa, especially the Great Lakes
region of East Africa, where millions of subsistence farmers and consumers depend on the crop as a staple food.
Dessert banana production is a multi-million dollar industry in Latin America, which produces over 70% of global
banana exports.
The world over, banana is traditionally propagated by means of field-obtained suckers or side-shoots, which are
often contaminated with soil-borne diseases and pests, such as nematodes (Radopholus similis, Pratylenchus
goodeyi, P. coffeae, Helicotylenchus multicinctus. Meloidogyne spp.) and banana weevils (Cosmopolites
sordidus). With the exception of fastidious bacteria and viruses, normally eliminated at the stock nurseries, tissue
cultured (TC) plants provide a
source of pest- and disease-free
planting material. TC plants also
have the benefits of uniformity,
enabling better planning for
markets and more rapid recovery
from broad-scale damage, such
as that from hurricanes. In Africa,
a number of commercial
enterprises are now beginning to
supply farmers with TC plants,
while in Latin America, TC plants
are used almost exclusively to
renovate aged commercial farms Banana corm damaged by tunnelling larvae of the banana weevil (left); toppled
and establish new ones.
banana plants due to nematode infestation (right). – D. Coyne
However, following their transfer to the field, TC plantlets tend to be less robust than suckers and require greater
care and attention. As a consequence of their aseptic and sterile production, TC plants are devoid of the
beneficial microorganisms present in suckers and have an untested defense mechanism. They are nevertheless
regularly planted into fields with high pest and disease burdens and abiotic constraints.
Endophyte is a ubiquitous term for microorganisms that naturally
occur in planta with neutral, positive, or negative impact to the host
(Backman & Sikora 2008). Some endophytes have proved
beneficial by enhancing plant growth and by providing host
protection from pests and diseases (Sikora et al. 2008). The many
strains of Fusarium oxysporum are the most common endophytes
in banana roots. Reintroducing beneficial endophytes during the TC
production process, to enhance the plant’s natural defense system
has proved viable and beneficial (Dubois et al. 2006a; zum Felde et
al. 2009).
Healthy banana seedlings from commercial tissue
culture. – A. zum Felde