Panama disease - Fusarium wilt - caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc) is regarded as one of the world’s most destructive banana plant diseases and has devastated banana production in many countries. Tropical Race 4 (FocTR4 or TR4) of the disease, which attacks the Cavendish variety, is considered to have the most economically damaging impact. The detection and identification of TR4 in the Tully Valley has changed the way that North Queensland banana businesses will be managed.
The overall aim of this Horticulture Innovation Australia funded project is to provide new science, information and practices that address key areas of need in the Australian banana industry with a medium to long-term view of developing management practices for banana growers affected by TR4. Within this broader context, our groups will focus on identifying microbial populations and genes that enhance or supress TR4. We will also identify ways to use the banana ‘microbiome’ to reduce disease through exploration of land management strategies and plant-microbe communication.