Presence of banana xanthomonas wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

  • Authors : Ndungo, V.; Eden-Green, S.J.; Blomme, G.; Crozier, J.; Smith, J.J.

  • Document type : Journal article

  • Year of publication : 2006

  • Journal title : Plant Pathology

  • Volume (number) : 55 (2)

  • Pages : 294

  • Peer-reviewed : Yes

  • ISSN : 0032-0862; 1365-3059

  • Language(s) : English

  • Abstract : In May 2004, following reports from local farmers of a devastating new banana disease, the first three authors visited Masisi District, 72 km northwest from Goma in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (altitude 1700 m above sea level) and diagnosed banana bacterial wilt caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm). Symptoms were similar to those seen in Uganda (Tushemereirwe et al., 2003) and included: progressive yellowing, wilting and blackening of leaves; yellow or brown vascular streaks throughout the plant; pockets of pale yellow bacterial ooze in airspaces within leaf bases; premature ripening and internal discoloration of fruits; and shrivelling of male inflorescence buds. Inflorescence symptoms probably result from transmission of bacteria by insects, and were uncommon. This may explain the limited spread in DRC since 2001, only c. 10 km from the original focus at Bashali Mokoto village, compared with 400 km in Uganda over the same period (see As in Uganda, ABB banana genotypes (especially 'Pisang Awak') appear to be the first to be infected, and matooke clones (Musa AAA-EA group) the last. Affected stools do not always die; new suckers emerge and these initially appear healthy but usually become infected from the mother plant, rarely surviving to flowering stage. The epicentre of the outbreak in Masisi was devastated, with total loss of yield and an alarming impact on food security. Using methods described by Tushemereirwe et al. (2004), yellow pigmented bacteria were isolated as almost pure cultures from samples of diseased inflorescence stalks sent to the Global Plant Clinic at CABI Bioscience, UK. Biochemical and molecular characteristics of two isolates were indistinguishable from Xcm from Uganda. Both caused rapid wilting within 7-10 days of inoculation into young banana plants from which the same organism was reisolated. It may be feasible to eradicate this outbreak by destroying affected plants and cleaning up affected fields, combined with removing male flower buds in surrounding healthy plants to prevent insect transmission. However, the first author has recently observed a new disease focus c. 20 km from the first, so continued vigilance and control action will be needed. The origin of these outbreaks is unknown. Until 2001, Xcm was known only from Ethiopia, where it causes disease in enset (Ensete ventricosum) and cultivated banana (Yirgou and Bradbury, 1968, 1974). It is possible that the disease has spread from wild or semicultivated enset plants, which can be found throughout the Masisi region. (Author's abstract).


  • Open access : Yes

  • Document on publisher's site : open View article on publisher's site

  • Musalit document ID : IN060203

Generate Citation