As Panama Disease Tropical Race IV slowly spreads in northern Australia, it is now a race against time to find solutions including disease-resistant or tolerant varieties. As a follow-up to a story published last year, Fresh Fruit Portal visited a project funded by industry and government to investigate potential options.
The more virulent strain of Panama Disease is yet to appear in the northern New South Wales area of Duranbah, but the impacts of the earlier Race I strain weigh heavy on growers of the popular Lady Finger variety.
Through his research David Peasley of Peasley Horticultural Services seeks to find ideal candidates for the banana industry’s future in a field ridden with Panama Disease Race I. Just to make sure, all trees on the test plot have been inoculated with the disease.
In the videos below, Peasley shows how the disease infects the plant, and you can see a clear contrast in the disease-resistant banana plants including a chance discovery and potential Lady Finger substitute FLF, a possible Cavendish replacement variety from South Africa called PKZ, and Honduran-bred processing bananas called FHIA 17.