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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #360694

Research Project: Conservation and Utilization of Tropical and Subtropical Tree Fruit, Cacao and Bamboo Genetic Resources

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Title: Host response to black leaf streak and agronomic performance of banana genotypes in Puerto Rico

item Irish, Brian
item Goenaga, Ricardo
item MONTALVO, SIRENA - Bioversity International
item Chaves-Cordoba, Bernardo
item VAN DEN BERGH, INGE - Bioversity International

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2019
Publication Date: 10/1/2019
Citation: Irish, B.M., Goenaga, R.J., Montalvo, S., Chaves-Cordoba, B., Van Den Bergh, I. 2019. Host response to black leaf streak and agronomic performance of banana genotypes in Puerto Rico. HortScience. 54(10):1808-1817.

Interpretive Summary: Managing plant pathogenic diseases in commercial banana production fields in Puerto Rico is difficult. Extensive pesticide use for disease mitigation leads to loss of product efficacy, environmental pollution, risks to the public and add to farmer’s production costs. Consequently, improving long-term, sustainable practices can be accomplished by adoption of banana varieties with genetic disease resistance. As part of a collaborative effort between the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station (TARS) and Bioversity International Musa Testing Program (IMTP) a collection of selected banana varieties were field evaluated for their foliar fungal disease resistance and agronomic performance. Although none of introductions evaluated met all the required attributes of a commercial banana substitute, several of the varieties evaluated showed improved disease resistance and good agronomic performance. As pesticide use declines as a management tool, many of these varieties might become more attractive (e.g., organic production) and will be accessible from collections at TARS.

Technical Abstract: Bananas are one of the most important fruit crops, serving as a cash crop and staple food in many regions of the world. In Puerto Rico, bananas are an important agricultural industry supplying all the fruit needed for local demand. Diseases significantly limit production, and the evaluation and adoption of improved genetic resistance in bananas might provide an avenue for long-term sustainable production. To this end, nine enhanced genotypes from international selection and breeding programs were introduced and evaluated for their response to black leaf streak (BLS) (Pseudocercospora fijiensis Morelet) and for their agronomic performance. Bananas were evaluated as part of a collaborative effort between the USDA-ARS Tropical Agriculture Research Station (TARS) and Bioversity International’s International Musa Testing Program (IMTP). Improved genotypes were compared to disease resistant and susceptible reference genotypes across two growing cycles. Field plants were grown following commercial production practices with no BLS management. Significant differences in disease reaction were observed during both growing cycles for test and reference genotypes. Under high disease pressure, ‘FHIA-21’, ‘FHLORBAN 916’ and ‘FHLORBAN 920’ test genotypes showed higher number of functional leaves and lower disease severity at harvest in both cycles. Short cycling times were also observed for the two FHLORBAN genotypes. Larger bunches with a high number of fruits were produced by the ‘IBP 12’, ‘IBP 5-B’ and ‘IBP 5-61’ selections. Several of the GCTCV test genotypes were extremely susceptible to BLS, did not perform as expected and appeared to be off-types. Several of the test genotypes performed well, although none possessed all needed traits for a commercial banana substitute. Regardless, several test genotypes have agronomic potential as they have been selected for disease resistance to other important pathogens (e.g., Fusarium wilt) and therefore have become part of the permanent TARS collection. Future efforts will continue to focus the IMTP collaboration and introduction of promising banana genotypes for evaluations.