Banana Freckle Disease

Banana Freckle Disease is caused by a fungus that has two distinct forms (and names): Guignardia musae (telomorph) or Phyllosticta musarum (anamorph). Banana Freckle Disease infects the leaves and fruits of bananas. There are several different strains of the fungus that are able to infect different banana varieties around the globe.

Like, Panama Disease/TR4, it is entirely possible that each strain of the fungus has evolved to live symbiotically with a specific variety of a banana in a specific environment. Transplant a variety to another country or continent and the Banana Freckle Disease will show its evil face. Transplant another variety to a plantation that seems free of infection and the Banana Freckle Disease will erupt to destroy a crop. In the absence of chemical control, there is about a 80% yield loss.
Symptoms of the Banana Freckle Disease include yellowing of the tissue and formation of small dark brown spots on the leaves and fruit. Within the spots, traces of the fungus can be spotted. The most characteristic symptom of Banana Freckle is a sandpaper feel to the infected (spotted) leaves and fruit when rubbed between your fingers. Banana Freckle is easily propagated and spread from plant to plant via water droplets and movement of infected tissue or fruit.

Management of the disease consist of cutting out infected leaves, the paper bag method, fungicide application, and proper sanitation techniques. This devastating disease is extremely relevant for the major banana exporting countries of the world. Banana Freckle disease needs to be carefully monitored in order to prevent further spread of the disease.

Australia is trying to eradicate the Banana Freckle Disease by destroying all infected banana 'trees'.

More information about the Autralian initiative can be found here.

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