Harm of Banana Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) to Banana Production

Banana Fusarium Wilt, also known as Panama disease, or yellow leaf disease, is infected by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (FOC), a devastating soil-borne disease.

Banana fusarium wilt was first discovered in Australia in 1874. In 1910, Panama caused great losses due to the disease. Now the disease is distributed in banana-producing areas in Asia, Africa, Australia, the South Pacific, and Tropical America.

Harm of Banana Fusarium Wilt

The pathogen can survive in the surface soil in the form of hyphae and chlamydospores for a long time. It has been documented that the pathogenic chlamydospore spores can survive in the soil for as long as 5 years and can withstand harsh environments. This provides ample opportunities for pathogen infection, spread, and harm.

Pathogens invade from the injured roots of the host, spread upward along with the vascular bundles and spread to the upper part of the leaves and pseudostem, and produce toxins or colloids to block the host’s transport tissue, and eventually cause the host’s entire plant to wither and die.

After infecting the host, Fusarium wilt has a certain incubation period. It takes about 1-2 months to inoculate the sprouts, and it takes more than 3-5 months for the infection to occur under natural conditions.

The local incidence of the disease is very high, the affected fields have obvious disease centers, and the speed of transmission is fast.

Fusarium oxysporum can be spread over long distances through seedlings with bacteria, agricultural machinery, and equipment. At the same time, pathogens can also spread through short distances through diseased plant residues, conidia, agricultural tools, irrigation water, nematodes, etc. The hot and rainy climate is conducive to the infection and spread of banana wilt.

At the same time, acidic soil, low organic matter, heavy soil quality, poor drainage, poor soil permeability, and improper farming management are all conducive to the occurrence of this disease.

Symptoms of Banana Fusarium Wilt

Banana Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum)

The typical characteristics of banana wilt are planting withering and vascular bundle discoloration and rot, which can be infected from the young to the adult stage.
The first symptom of the diseased plant is that the lower leaves turn into a special yellow, and expand from the edge of the leaf to the middle of the leaf ridge. The petiole near the leaf sheath begins to bend, and finally, the whole leaf changes from yellow to brown and hangs upside down beside the pseudostem.

At the same time, the leaves also developed successively from bottom to top, turning yellow, drooping, browning, and withering until the last top leaf withered. From the onset to the rot and fall, the diseased plant can generally remain upright for 1-2 months, and then due to the influence of certain bacteria or nematodes on the host’s vascular bundle, the symptoms of banana wilt may change.


After pathogenic bacteria invade the host, they mainly produce toxins, hormones and enzymes, and other active substances that harm the host plant. Banana Fusarium wilt bacteria toxin contains fusaric acid and dehydrofusaric acid.

Among them, fusalic acid is one of the main toxins of Fusarium wilt. It can reduce the vitality of plant cells by inhibiting the activity of host defense enzymes, increasing active oxygen in cells, changing cell membrane permeability or membrane potential, and disrupting host physiological metabolism.

Prevention Method

At present, the control of banana fusarium wilt is mainly through the breeding of resistant varieties, bio-organic fertilizer, chemical control, crop rotation, and so on.

At present, chemical control methods are not ideal for controlling banana fusarium wilt, and it is difficult to control the spread of the disease in field production. Moreover, the excessive use of pesticides will also cause pesticide residues in the soil and environmental pollution, affect soil quality, and lead to an imbalance in the structure of soil microbial communities.

In the practice of biological control of soil-borne diseases, biocontrol bacteria can colonize the soil and occupy favorable ecological sites for a long time, which is one of the key factors to obtain the control effect.

The biological control of plant soil-borne diseases depends on regulating the soil microbial community and its functional diversity. The richer the soil microbial community structure, the more uniform the species, the higher the diversity, and the stronger the comprehensive resistance to pathogens.

Although the biological control method started late, it has gradually developed into one of the safe and effective measures to prevent and control banana fusarium wilt in recent years.

Our tests have proved that the control effect of Trichoderma harzianum on banana wilt is 48% to 51%; Pseudomonas fluorescens can induce plant resistance to inhibit banana wilt, and Bacillus subtilis also has a better control effect. Experiments have proved that the combination of planting of resistant varieties and application of biocontrol bacteria can achieve more than 95% of the control effect on banana wilt.

According to research, it has been found that Trichoderma can effectively inhibit the activities of Fusarium oxysporum through a series of anti-parasitic, antibiotic, bacteriolytic, and growing competition.

Trichoderma has strong vitality and rapid reproduction. The ability to compete for living space and nutritional resources is extremely high, and it can reject and inhibit Fusarium oxysporum. Trichoderma hyphae re-parasitizes on the hyphae of Fusarium oxysporum by winding, interspersing, clinging, etc., and invade the hyphae of Fusarium oxysporum to absorb nutrients.

It dissolves the cell wall and enters the parasitic hyphae and grows in it, deforming the hyphae of Fusarium oxysporum and shortening the cells. Finally, the pathogenic bacteria broke and disintegrated. The anti-biomass produced by Trichoderma during the growth process can effectively inhibit the growth and spore germination of Fusarium oxysporum, so that the cytoplasm of Fusarium oxysporum hyphae is decomposed, the protoplasm is condensed, and it gradually decays and inactivates and disintegrates.

At present, banana wilt disease has entered a rapid expansion stage, and banana production is facing a huge threat. When chemical control is ineffective, it is imperative to strengthen biological control.

Therefore, a large number of repeated field applications of bacteria with antagonistic effects on banana fusarium wilt has become an urgent problem to be solved.

The soil is a symbiosis place of multiple microorganisms. It may be more effective to choose a strain that can symbiotically and antagonizes banana Fusarium wilt to jointly control banana Fusarium wilt.

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