First report of black Sigatoka on Reunion Island

Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the causal agent of black Sigatoka, a disease of bananas (BLSD). It is considered to be the major economic threat for bananas cultivated for export all over the world. The disease has a worldwide distribution throughout the humid tropical regions and has been previously reported in the southwest Indian Ocean area: in 1993 in Mayotte and Comoros islands, in Mauritius in 1996 and in Madagascar in 2000. In December 2017, typical BLSD symptoms were observed in a Cavendish cv. Petite Naine crop located in Grand Etang municipality, St. Benoit, in the east-central area of Reunion Island.

Typical symptoms of black Sigatoka disease observed on a Cavendish cv. Petite Naine crop located in Grand Etang municipality.

In March 2018, banana leaves with symptoms were collected and were analysed for molecular diagnostics. "To our knowledge, this is the first report of BLSD in Reunion Island - scientists of CIRAD at La Réunion and Montpellier (France) say. Our results also showed co-infection with fungus P. eumusae. Further investigation will be needed to monitor the spread of BLSD on the island and to identify the origin of the populations responsible for the introduction of the disease".

Source: Rieux A., Hostachy B., De Lapeyre de Bellaire L., Martin Y., Maratchia G., Dupuis A., Ioos R., Jeandel C., Hubert J., 'First report of black Sigatoka disease in banana caused by Mycosphaerella fijiensis on Reunion Island', 2019, New Disease Reports 39, 12.

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