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There are quite a number of banana plant diseases that can afflict this plant as well.
Sigatoka – Sigatoka, also known as leaf spot, is caused by the fungus Mycospharella musicola. It is most commonly found in areas of poorly draining soil and areas of heavy dew. The initial stages show small, pale spots on the leaves that gradually enlarge to about a half-inch (1.25 cm.) in size and become purple/black with gray centers. If the whole plant is infected, it looks as if it has been burned. Orchard grade mineral oil can be sprayed on the banana every 3 weeks for a total of 12 applications to control Sigatoka. Commercial growers also use aerial spraying and systemic fungicide application to control the disease. Some banana cultivars also show some resistance to Sigatoka.
Black leaf streak – M. fifiensis causes Black Sigatoka, or Black Leaf Streak, and is much more virulent than Sigatoka. The cultivars that have some resistance to Sigatoka show none to Black Sigatoka. Fungicides have been used to try and control this disease on commercial banana farms through aerial spraying but this is costly and difficult due to scattered plantations.
Banana wilt – Another fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, causes Panama disease or Banana Wilt (Fusarium wilt). It begins in the soil and travels to the root system, then enters the corm and passes into the pseudostem. Leaves begin to yellow, starting with the oldest leaves and moving in towards the center of the banana. This disease is lethal. It is transmitted through water, wind, moving soil and farm equipment. On banana plantations, fields are flooded to control the fungus or by planting a cover crop.
Moko disease – A bacterium, Pseudomona solanacearum, is the culprit resulting in Moko Disease. This disease is the chief disease of banana and plantain in the western hemisphere. It is transmitted via insects, machetes and other farm tools, plant detritus, soil, and root contact with ailing plants. The only sure defense is to plant resistant cultivars. Controlling infected bananas is time-consuming, expensive and resistant.
Black end and Cigar tip rot – Black end stems from another fungus that causes anthracnose on the plants and infects the stalk and fruiting end. Young fruit shrivels and mummifies. Stored bananas afflicted with this disease rot. Cigar tip rot starts in the flower, moves to the tips of the fruit and turns them black and fibrous.
Bunchy top – Bunchy top is transmitted via aphids. Its introduction almost wiped out the commercial banana industry in Queensland. Eradication and control measures along with a quarantine area have managed to stamp out the disease but growers are eternally vigilant for any signs of bunchy top. Leaves are narrow, short with upturned margins. They become stiff and brittle with short leaf stalks that give the plant a rosette look. Young leaves yellow and become wavy with dark green “dot and dash” lines on the undersides.
In 2018, the Philippines produced some 9.36 million metric tonnes of bananas on 447,889 ha, with Cavendish cultivars accounting for about 52% of total banana production, Saba (27%) and Lakatan (10%).