African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12463


Banana Xanthomonas wilt: a review of the disease, management strategies and future research directions

Moses Biruma2, Michael Pillay1,2*, Leena Tripathi2, Guy Blomme3, Steffen Abele2, Maina Mwangi2, Ranajit Bandyopadhyay4, Perez Muchunguzi2, Sadik Kassim2, Moses Nyine2 Laban Turyagyenda2 and Simon Eden-Green5
1Vaal University of Technology, Private Bag X021, Vanderbijlpark 1900, South Africa. 2International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), P. O. Box 7878, Kampala, Uganda 3International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP) P. O. Box 24384 Kampala, Uganda 4International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria 5EG Consulting, 470 Lunsford Lane, Larkfield, Kent ME20 6JA, United Kingdom.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 01 March 2007
  •  Published: 16 April 2007


Banana production in Eastern Africa is threatened by the presence of a new devastating bacterial disease caused by Xanthomonas  vasicola pv. musacearum (formerlyXanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum). The disease has been identified in Uganda, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Disease symptoms include wilting and yellowing of leaves, excretion of a yel-lowish bacterial ooze, premature ripening of the bunch, rotting of fruit and internal yellow discoloration of the vascular bundles. Plants are infected either by insects through the inflorescence or by soil-borne bacterial inoculum through the lower parts of the plant. Short- and long-distance transmission of the disease mainly occurs via contaminated tools and insects, though other organisms such as birds may also be involved. Although no banana cultivar with resistance to the disease has been identified as yet, it appears that certain cultivars have mechanisms to ‘escape’ the disease. Management and control of the disease involve methods that reduce the inoculum’s density and spread of the pathogen. Removal of the male bud (de-budding) has proven to be very effective in preventing the disease incidence since the male bud appears to be the primary infection site. The economic impact of banana Xanthomonas wilt is not fully understood but its impact on food security in the region is very significant. While germplasm screening for the disease is ongoing, efforts to genetically engineer resistance in some banana cultivars are also making good progress. This paper presents a review of the disease and management strategies that have been successful in curtailing its spread.             


Key words:  Banana, Xanthomonas wilt, disease management, future strategies.