African Journal of Biotechnology

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A screening method for banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus Germar) resistance using reference genotypes

K Sadik, M Nyine, M Pillay


The banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus Germar) is a serious pest in most banana-growing areas of the world. Host-plant resistance is considered to be the most feasible and sustainable method for its
control. However, a quick and effective method for screening banana genotypes for resistance against the banana weevil to facilitate selection and/or development of resistant genotypes is lacking. The objective of the study was to develop an early screening method for weevil resistance by using a set of reference genotypes. Three susceptible genotypes (‘Atwalira’, ‘Namwezi’ and ‘Kibuzi’) and three resistant genotypes (‘Calcutta 4’, ‘Yangambi Km5’ and ‘TMB3x1968-2’) were used in screen-house
experiments to assess weevil resistance/susceptibility. Healthy plantlets of the above genotypes were established in buckets in a screen house. Ten adult weevils (5 females and 5 males) were introduced at the base of each plant and the bucket was covered with a weevil-proof mesh. Weevil damage of the corms was estimated as a percentage at 35 and 60 days after the weevil introduction by estimating the peripheral and cross-section corm damage. The resistant genotypes had significantly lower (p < 0.05)
peripheral and total cross-section corm damage, and less larvae than the susceptible genotypes. These results indicated that these genotypes can be used as reference genotypes in evaluating resistance or susceptibility against the banana weevil. These experiments were completed in five to seven months, depending on the source of planting material, as compared to field-screening experiments for the banana weevil that can take up to three or more years.

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