Banana xanthomonas wilt: incidence, transmission, pathogen characterization and management options in Kagera, Mwanza and Mara regions

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Field surveys were conducted from December, 2011 to January, 2012 in Kagera, Mwanza and Mara regions to assess the current status of banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) disease. Twenty eighty banana samples with BXW disease symptoms were randomly collected from a total of 147 surveyed fields. Farmers’ knowledge of BXW disease was assessed using a checklist, discussions and direct field observations. Isolation of bacteria was done on Yeast Peptone Glucose Agar and identification was done based on morphological, biochemical, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and pathogenicity tests. Results indicated that the incidence of BXW disease was highest (56.7 %) at Ihangiro and the lowest (10 %) at Ruhija and Mulela, in Muleba District; Nakamwa and Busagami, in Ukerewe District. Such results implied that, BXW disease is a constraint to banana production in the surveyed districts. The results also indicated that BXW pathogen transmission was through infected farming tools (65.4 %) in Muleba District and infected planting materials in Tarime (50.5 %) and Ukerewe (45.8 %) Districts, implying that these were the major means by which BXW disease was spread in the study area. About 58.33 % and 41.67 % of farmers at Ibare and Kishanda villages, respectively, in Muleba District farmers associated pied crow (Corvus albus L.) with the transmission of BXW causing pathogen. Results based on morphological, biochemical and PCR test indicated that, four out of 16 bacteria isolated from infected banana samples were most likely Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm). This study recommends farmers training through seminars on BXW disease identification and proper management. Further studies on the relationship between the pied crow and Xcm transmission in Kagera, Mara and Mwanza regions, are also recommended.



Banana, Banana xanthomonas, Banana disease symptoms, Morphological, Biochemical, Polymerase chain reaction, Mara regions, Kagera region, Mwanza region