Efficient screening procedure for black sigatoka disease of banana
Current methods for screening for reaction of Mycosphaerella fijiensis are mostly field based and subject to variability caused by weather conditions. The objective of this study was to develop an efficient screening procedure for black sigatoka disease in order to provide a reliable controlled environment screening method. A fragmented mycelia-based infection system was developed using weighed mycelia suspensions, in 0.18% water agar. Consistent and repeatable black sigatoka infection was achieved in cv. Gross Michel as a reference susceptible cultivar. The infection system developed was used to validate screenhouse reaction of banana genotypes to M. fijiensis. Three East African highland genotypes (AAA-EA), one plantain genotype (ABB), two dessert (AAB and AAA) and one hybrid genotype (AAAA) were tested. Inoculum of M. fijiensis was adjusted to 15 mg ml-1 fragmented mycelium and applied to the abaxial surfaces of the first two open leaves. Plants were evaluated for 6 weeks post inoculation (PI). Significant differences in the response of the different genotypes, to M. fijiensis infection were observed at 3, 4, 5 and 6 weeks PI. All East African highland and dessert genotypes were susceptible. M9 hybrid and Psang awak (ABB) expressed resistance, characterised by high disease incubation period and slow rate of symptom development, with Psanag awak being the most resistant. Artificial inoculation of in vitro plants with weighed fragmented mycelial suspension, was practicable for determining resistance to M. fijiensis. This is the first report demonstrating that use of weighed fragmented mycelial inoculum spread over the entire leaf surface, can be used to quantitatively assess reaction of banana genotypes to M. fijiensis under screenhouse conditions.
Keywords: Ascomycete, Black leaf streak, Mycosphaerella fijiensis Musa sp.