Professor Andre Drenth has just finished and important study into blood disease of bananas, collaborating with key scientists and partners in Indonesia. The disease originated in Indonesia some 100 years ago, but has recently spread widely amongst the archipelago and was recently reported in Malaysia. It’s further spread is a major threat to South East Asian and world banana production.
The study provided evidence concerning the biology of infection. The research provided evidence that i) infection occurs through the male and female inflorescence, ii) the disease is highly tool transmissible and iii) that mother plants can transmit the disease to suckers. The studies revealed that both Cavendish and Kepok banana varieties are susceptible to blood disease. The scientific experiments conducted as part of this project provide evidence concerning the effectiveness of methods to prevent spread and infection. The experimental results were then used to develop a science based management plan. The management strategy included a series of recommendations such as tool sanitisation, de-belling with a forked stick, removal/destruction of diseased mats, bagging, and use of tissue culture plants.