Banana Blood disease is a bacterial wilt caused by Ralstonia syzygii subsp. celebesensis and is an economically important disease in Indonesia and Malaysia. Transmission of this pathogen is hypothesized to occur through insects mechanically transferring bacteria from diseased to healthy banana inflorescences, and other pathways involving pruning tools, water movement and root-to-root contact. This study demonstrates that the ooze from the infected male bell and the sap from various symptomatic plant parts are infective and the cut surfaces of a bunch peduncle, petiole, corm, and the rachis act as infection courts for R. syzygii subsp. celebesensis. In addition, evidence is provided that R. syzygii subsp. celebesensis is highly tool transmissible, that the bacterium can be transferred from the roots of a diseased plant to the roots of a healthy plant and transferred from the mother plant to the sucker. We provide evidence that local dispersal of Blood disease is predominantly through mechanical transmission by insects, birds, bats or human activities from diseased to healthy banana plants and that long-distance dispersal is through the movement of contaminated planting material. Disease management strategies to prevent crop losses associated with this emerging disease are discussed based on our findings.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.