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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mayaguez, Puerto Rico » Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402680

Research Project: Enhancement of Sorghum Genetic Diversity for Disease Resistance and Key Agronomic Traits

Location: Tropical Crops and Germplasm Research

Title: The Sigatoka disease complex caused by Pseudocercospora spp. and other fungal pathogens associated with Musa spp. in Puerto Rico

item AVILES-NORIEGA, ASHLEY - University Of Puerto Rico
item Serrato Diaz, Luz
item GIRALDO-ZAPATA, MARTHA - University Of Puerto Rico
item Cuevas, Hugo
item RIVERA-VARGAS, LYDIA - University Of Puerto Rico

Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2023
Publication Date: 11/15/2023
Citation: Aviles-Noriega, A., Serrato Diaz, L.M., Giraldo-Zapata, M.C., Cuevas, H.E., Rivera-Vargas, L.I. 2023. The Sigatoka disease complex caused by Pseudocercospora spp. and other fungal pathogens associated with Musa spp. in Puerto Rico. Plant Disease.

Interpretive Summary: Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) production worldwide is being limited by fungal diseases. The identification and characterization of these fungi is imperative for the establishment of specific management approaches. Therefore, sixty-one leaf samples of Musa spp. showing fungi diseases symptoms were collected throughout different regions of Puerto Rico for diagnosis analyses. Molecular and morphological characterization found that black Sigatoka, caused by Pseudocercospora fijiensis, is the most common disease. However, other fungi such as Cladosporium spp., Corynespora spp., Neocordana spp., Zasmidium spp., and Zygophiala spp. were also found in lower frequency. The identification of these fungal pathogens associated with Musa spp. provides basic information to establish an effective and specific management approach for its control in Puerto Rico.

Technical Abstract: Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are among the world’s most economically important staple food crops. The most important fungal leaf diseases of Musa spp. worldwide are caused by the Sigatoka disease complex, which comprise the black leaf streak (Pseudocercospora fijiensis), the Sigatoka leaf spot (P. musae), and the Eumusae leaf spot (P. eumusae). Considering the rapid spread rate of the black Sigatoka in Puerto Rico after its first observation in 2004, a disease survey was conducted from 2018 to 2020 to evaluate the Sigatoka disease complex on the island and develop specific management approaches. Sixty-one leaf samples showing Sigatoka-like symptoms were collected throughout the island for diagnosis by molecular approaches and fungal isolation. Molecular analysis using species-specific primers for P. fijiensis, P. musae and P. emusae detected the presence of P. fijiensis in fifty leaf samples. Thirty-eight fungal isolates were collected and identified by morphology and genomic sequencing from various nuclear genes. The analysis identified 24 isolates as P. fijiensis, while the rest of the isolates belonged to the genus Cladosporium spp. or Cladosporium-like spp. (n=5), Neocordana musae (n=2), Zasmidium spp. (n=6), and Z. musigenum (n=1). The high frequency of P. fijiensis found in leaf samples and collected isolates suggest that Black Sigatoka has displaced the Yellow Sigatoka disease (Pseudocercospora spp.) in Puerto Rico. Accurate identification of fungal species causing foliar diseases in Musa spp. will allow the establishment of quarantine regulations and specific management approaches in Puerto Rico.