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Posts Tagged ‘Panama Disease Tropical Race IV (TR4)’

 

Fresh Plaza

http://www.freshplaza.com/article/137531/QLD-Good-news-for-banana-growers-as-TR4-contained?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=ed5&utm_source=s1

 

Banana growers have started to breathe a sigh of relief, but are continuing to spend money on quarantine measures as news broke that the plants infected with Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) disease have been killed, and no new infectious plants have been identified from samples taken. “We’ve spent $100,000 in the last three weeks putting in quarantine measures. We’re trying to quarantine our two properties we have,” said Tully banana grower Martin Buchanan, whose property is in the area around the infected farm. “Everybody should be made to do it. It should be mandatory.”

Biosecurity Queensland have had almost 70 people working on the response since the beginning of March with a further 20 people joining the effort on Monday. An Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) field officer and assistant on Saturday destroyed the 10 infected plants and 200 surrounding plants on behalf of the family that owns the infected farm. The plants are being injected and left onsite. “The plants are being injected with chemicals to reduce any risk of disease spread and they will be left onsite. “We will continue to monitor the farm and surrounding area for any further signs of the disease in the weeks and months ahead,” said Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr Jim Thompson.

A total of 16,000 plants on a 10-hectare section of the quarantined farm are expected to be destroyed to help prevent the spread of the Panama TR4 pathogen. The farm is 240 hectares with about 160 hectares planted with bananas. That will require sustained effort from banana growers on the Cassowary Coast and other North Queensland growing regions, many of whom have been attending meetings in the regions at Tully, Innisfail and Mareeba to receive updates on the situation, and find out what they should be doing to protect their farms.

Mr Buchanan said that the meetings have been ‘good at keeping people up to date’ however some growers were still unsure about correct procedures for some decontamination measures, for example the correct chemicals to use to wash down vehicles.

Both the ABGC and Biosecurity Queensland have made resources available to assist farmers to ensure they follow the ‘come clean, leave clean’ directive, and ABGC Chairman Doug Phillips offered his thanks to growers for their cooperation, and expressed cautious optimism at the news that there have been no other plants in the North Queensland growing regions that have tested positive for Panama TR4, from 150 samples sent for testing. The only ones to test positive were from the infected plants on the quarantined farm. “It’s very encouraging that there have been no detections of TR4 on other banana farms,” Mr Phillips said. “Surveillance and testing is continuing and we would ask growers to continue to report any plants that may appear to have TR4 symptoms.”

Publication date: 3/31/2015
Author: Kalianna Dean
Copyright: http://www.freshplaza.com

 

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freshfruitlogoffp
March 31st, 2015

Banana Panama disease 2

 

The Tropical Race 4 strain (TR4) of Fusarium oxysporum which causes Panama disease in Cavendish bananas has been found in a Pakistani plantation and a Lebanese farm in two more separate outbreaks. At http://www.freshfruitportal.com, we caught up with Wageningen University & Research Centre lead researcher Gert Kema who discussed implications for the Indian subcontinent as the disease’s spread continues.

 

Bananas – Marlith – Wikimedia Commons panorama

Kema became involved after reading an online forum post made by banana grower Hadi Bux Laghari from Asim Agriculture Farm in Pakistan, who was suspicious some of his plants were showing signs of the deadly fungus.

“I immediately responded to him and asked him if he could cut one of the plants to see how it looks internally, so that’s what he did and he said that he was almost sure that it’s Panama disease,” Kema told http://www.freshfruitportal.com.

“I asked him to document everything, take photographs and send the samples to me which he did. We looked into the material once we received it here and we carried out DNA tests and various other tests, isolated the fungus and infected healthy banana plants and eventually we confirmed that is was indeed TR4.”

Initially the infected area in Pakistan was just six hectares; Kema now believes that has increased to more than 100 hectares.

Simultaneously, he was analyzing suspected Panama disease plant specimens sent from another plantation in Lebanon, after concerned growers also suspicious of the disease and posted samples to the Dutch lab.

“Once again the diagnosis was TR4. The acreage in Pakistan is a few hundred hectares whereas in Lebanon it’s very limited with just a few hectares. These are two new incursions in Pakistan and Lebanon and come very quickly after what happened in Queensland, Australia a little while ago and in Jordan and Mozambique last year.

“We are almost sure that it arrived in Lebanon via a man from Jordan transporting infected plants as TR4 was already reported in Jordan but as far as Pakistan is concerned, we don’t have the slightest idea how it got there.”

What are the next steps?

Kema plans to visit the Lebanon plantation over the coming months but is concerned that ‘communication difficulties’ in Pakistan may hamper his recommendations.

“Frankly speaking the communication is pretty difficult with Pakistan so I’m afraid I don’t yet have a good idea of how they are currently handling it, although of course we have recommended for them to take immediate action in terms of isolation and quarantine.

“The first thing to do of course is to isolate, not only those contaminated plants, but any other plants that show symptoms as well as surrounding plants, and quarantine all of them.

“I have never been to Pakistan and I don’t know yet whether they will be following these recommendations or not. At present all we can do is offer our advice and recommendations on what should be done now. I am happy to buy a ticket and just fly out there but communication has been very difficult so far.”

Although both of the latest outbreaks are of major concern and demonstrate TR4 has global implications, Kema believes the Pakistan outbreak is very significant because of its close proximity to India, a global leader in banana production.

“These are both significant but particularly so in Pakistan because the plantation there has a substantial area of bananas and they grow in an area that is frequently flooded which is one way to spread the disease.

“Without dramatizing the situation, India is a major banana producer in the world and to have Panama disease next door shows there is definitely a risk and so having this strain in the Indian sub continent is definitely not a good thing.

“This is just another sign that shows the issue of Panama disease is becoming more and more serious with TR4 popping up in different countries which is a huge alert for quarantine action to be taken as well as awareness campaigns. I really hope that maybe officers from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) or others can get in touch with the growers in Pakistan and see how they can effectively quarantine.”

How was TR4 transported?

This question still remains unclear but it’s an important one for Kema who suggests several theories.

“People can take this along with them as it were, although we don’t know in exactly what form, particularly in Pakistan’s case but we do know that it spreads very quickly. It could be through infected plants, perhaps someone smuggled plants or they carry contaminated tools or wear contaminated shoes.

“We are generating a lot of new information in general terms regarding Panama disease, some of which I cannot disclose yet, but there are still very many questions we need to find answers for.”

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2015/03/31/panama-disease-tr4-detected-in-pakistan-lebanon/?country=australia

http://www.freshfruitportal.com

 

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freshfruitlogoffp

 

March 4th, 2015

Green-bananas-on-plant-bunch-panoramaPhoto: http://www.shutterstock.com
The Australian banana industry is on high alert after a suspected case of Panama Disease Tropical Race IV (TR4) was detected on a plantation in the North Queensland region of Tully. Green bananas on plant bunch panorama

The disease had previously only been present in the Northern Territory within Australia, and further testing is being conducted to confirm whether this is indeed the first case in the leading banana-growing state of Queensland.

Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined the farm.

Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) chairman Doug Phillips had advised all banana growers to immediately review their on-farm biosecurity practices.

“Biosecurity is the most important issue to the Australian banana industry and Panama TR4 is the most serious of all biosecurity risks for us,” Phillips said in a release.

“This suspected case has been identified through the banana industry’s ongoing communication with growers about biosecurity risks and our surveillance work, with the plant sample collected by one of our field officers after being notified by the grower of an unhealthy plant.

“Although this is a suspected case of Panama TR4 both ABGC and Biosecurity Queensland are treating this case with the utmost seriousness.”

 

www.freshfruitportal.com

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2015/03/04/australia-panama-disease-tropical-race-iv-suspected-in-queensland/?country=australia

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