Worldwide distribution. In the tropics. On cocoa, breadfruit, coconut, papaya, and many other crops. An important disease.
A water mould, an oomycete, not a fungus. Infects pods of all sizes and colours. Pods are at first brown then black; they rot but stay on the tree. Pods are destroyed in 10 days or less, depending on size.
Spread by spores rain-splashed between pods, or from soil onto lower pods on trunks. Spread by flying insects. Ants place soil with spores on pods over mealybugs. Rots on pods grow back causing branch and trunk cankers; spread also on pruning tools, and possibly by rats and bats.
Cultural control: light shade; at least 3 m spacing; good drainage; open canopy, chupon (water shoots) removal; rat control; 2-4-week harvest of ripe and black pods; remove empty pods from plantation; use tolerant varieties (e.g., Amelonado); breeders’ lines developed in Papua New Guinea.
Chemical control: copper sprays; trunk injections - phosphorous acid.