The Panama disease caused by a soil borne fungus is threatening banana crops across Kerala, posing a potential crisis for farmers, even as global efforts to control the disease gain momentum.
About Panama disease
Panama disease is a plant disease of the roots of banana plants. It is a type of Fusarium wilt, caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium Oxysporum. The pathogen is resistant to fungicide and cannot be controlled chemically.
During the 1950s, Panama disease wiped out. A new virulent strain of the disease known as Tropical Race 4 (TR4) enters the plant’s roots and spreads, invading vascular tissue. The first symptom is irregular yellowing of older leaves, which later turn brown and dry and eventually the plant dies. The disease is not a threat to humans.