Australia: Panama TR4 detection on Queensland farm prompts quarantine

July 13 , 2017

Australian authorities on Wednesday announced a suspect Panama disease Tropical Race IV detection on banana farm in Queensland after initial samples taken from banana plants returned positive. 

Biosecurity Queensland took a number of samples from a part of that property which have undergone diagnostic testing over the past week in their Brisbane laboratory. 

The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) has urged growers to ramp up their on-farm biosecurity measures in light of the news of this suspect detection.

“The initial molecular test has come back positive.  It will be four to six weeks before the definitive test results are known,” ABGC chair Stephen Lowe said.

“Nonetheless, growers need to protect their farms as this TR4 risk is not going away.”

The first ever case of TR4 in Queensland was confirmed in March 2015.

ABGC reminded banana growers to implement effective biosecurity practices, such as removing all plant material and soil from machinery and footwear before they are brought onto their farms.

“The molecular test known as a PCR test has now come back positive for Panama TR4, and it will be several weeks before the definitive test results from a biological test are completed,” Lowe said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the property owners for their prompt response in reporting the suspect plants to authorities.  Their reporting of this is imperative to control the fungus spreading further and affecting more farms.

“ABGC is working closely with the owners of this property to provide assistance and ensure every possible measure is taken to avoid the further spread of this soil borne disease.”

Lowe added the farm owners had isolated and stopped all access to the block in question.

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