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Integrated management of Fusarium wilt of bananas in the Philippines and Australia

This project aims to help smallholder banana growers in the Philippines and Australia reduce the spread of fusarium wilt, a fungal disease that threatens the export Cavendish industry.
The fungus Fusarium oxysporum causes Fusarium wilt of bananas. The tropical race 4 (TR4) strain of the pathogen affects Cavendish bananas. It affects small and medium scale growers most as they have no other land resources to move to or expand production, and their fallow and rotations options are restricted. Resistant clones have been identified, but they are constrained by gradual susceptibility to Fusarium wilt and inferior post-harvest characteristics.
This project will stop Fusarium wilt spreading through soil movement, understand mechanisms that suppress the symptoms, and identify how to effectively dispose of infected plant residue. It also aims to profile knowledge of banana growers and the barriers to adopting relevant practices.
The project will draw on Australian industry-funded projects, ACIAR HORT/2008/040 and Bioversity International's experience managing the disease in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines and their co-ordination role with other national research projects.