Banana Plant Protection Program
The Banana Plant Protection Program, led by University of Queensland, focusses on a broad range of plant protection areas important to the Australian banana industry.
Currently, no areas are probably more important than those related to containment and long term management of Panama disease. In particular, the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) of the disease, caused by the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, was recently identified in the major banana production region in North Queensland.
The Banana Plant Protection Program has been involved in a range of activities that are targeted towards TR4. These include:
- importation of alternative banana varieties for evaluation of pest and disease tolerance and agronomic traits
- activities that underpin the Quality Banana Approved Nurseries (QBAN) Scheme
- improved banana disease diagnostics and understanding Fusarium biology
- in-field control strategies and mechanisms for resistance to Fusarium.
Evaluation of alternative banana varieties in a TR4-infected site in the Northern Territory has been impacted by the recent banana freckle incursion, however agronomic and other pest and disease evaluations have commenced in field trials in both tropical and subtropical production regions. Should one of these alternative banana varieties demonstrate a high degree of tolerance to TR4, the information generated will be invaluable in terms of production requirements and performance in the tropics and subtropics.
Plant protection is an integral part of Agricultural production systems as it affects many aspects including; cost of production, choice of varieties, risk of crop failures, environmental and ecological footprint, pesticide residues, fruit quality and market access with regards to imports and exports.
The aim of the Banana Plant Protection Program is to bring together and maintain the key core activities required for banana plant health in the longer term and to streamline the various aspects of plant protection research to ensure economical delivery of effective outcomes for the industry as a whole, and on a national basis.
Project name: Banana Plant Protection Program
Project number: BA10020
This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the Banana levy and funds from the Australian Government.