Australia: Tully banana trees tested for infection

Samples from a banana tree on a Tully farm suspected of being infected with Panama disease have been sent to Brisbane for testing. The Australian Banana Growers’ Council confirmed last night that a Tully banana farm operating with Panama tropical race 4 (TR4) had had samples from another suspect plant sent away for testing.

The suspect plant was found on the Tully Valley property through routine on-farm surveillance and an initial molecular (PCR) test of the plant has returned a positive result for TR4. However, it could be up to several weeks before definitive test results from further biological testing are known.

“From the perspective of the grower involved it is obviously disappointing,” ABGC chair Stephen Lowe said. “However, this farm has been operating under strict risk-minimisation biosecurity control measures since its initial detection, and a further suspect plant does not change the biosecurity situation on this property, because they are already successfully operating with this disease.”

According to ntnews.com.au, the same farm had an initial positive TR4 detection confirmed on July 26, 2017.

“For the property to have gone almost 12 months without any new detections is quite remarkable considering this disease has spread so rapidly in other countries across the world.”

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