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Source: PhysOrg [summ. Mod.DHA, edited]

Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW) is the most widespread bacterial crop disease in Africa and is considered one of the 4 most important emerging infectious diseases of crop plants in developing countries. Modelling by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) has shown that if BXW is left uncontrolled, it could cause a 55% reduction in banana production in newly affected areas within 10 years.

Scientists modelled 3 scenarios of BXW spread based on assumptions about the level of response by governments and farmers: slow, limited, and no control responses. Results showed that even a limited policy response can reduce infections and mitigate some of the production, economic, and food security consequences of the disease, while no BXW control can be catastrophic, so farmers should be worried.

If the reaction from governments and farmers to an outbreak is quick and effective, the damage can be almost nil, but unfortunately a quick and effective response is not always the case. The data clearly show the range of expected impacts according to different policy and training scenarios, and this information is crucial for decision makers. Although campaigns to raise awareness and train farmers to manage the disease can be expensive, the damage to producers and consumers due to inaction is so much higher that really there is no option.
Communicated by:

[_Xanthomonas vasicola_ (previously _campestris_) pv. _musacearum_ is the causal organism of bacterial wilt of Musaceae in central and eastern Africa (BXW; bacterial wilts due to _Ralstonia_ species are present elsewhere). BXW was first reported in Ethiopia in 1968 and has been spreading in the region since then. Symptoms of BXW may include wilting of leaves and plants; premature ripening of fruit; fruit rot; or bacterial ooze on cut surfaces. An incidence of 70-80% in many plantations and yield losses of up to 90% have been reported.

The bacteria survive in soil and plant debris. They are mainly spread with infected planting material and by human or insect activities, mechanical means, and contaminated tools. A range of alternate hosts may serve as pathogen reservoirs. An integrated approach is needed for disease management. Removal of male buds immediately after fruit set has been found to prevent transmission of bacterial ooze by flying insects. Other control measures may include crop rotation; disinfection of orchard tools; use of certified clean material for replanting; and phytosanitation to reduce inoculum and prevent re-introduction or plant-to-plant spread of the pathogen. However, these measures may be difficult to implement with smallholders. No resistant banana cultivars have been identified. Research is being carried out on transgenic lines of banana for field resistance to BXW (for more information see ProMED post 20210826.8622955).

Africa (overview):

Pictures, and

Source publication, additional information:
BXW disease information:,, and
BXW management and control:, and
BXW resistance research:,, and
_X. v._ pv. _musacearum_ taxonomy:
- Mod.DHA]


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