BXW is transmitted in any one of the following ways;
Soil is one of the main sources for Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum inoculum. Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum may contaminate the soil for four months and more. BXW awareness campaigns have helped reduce the numbers of farmers growing bananas on contaminated plantains aiding in the control of the disease overall. Transmission of contaminated disease itself is thought to be low.
It widely thought that Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum bacteria is transmitted to airborne vectors through exposed male flowers (see plant reproductive morphology). Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum bacteria has been isolated from the ooze and nectar excreted from openings of fallen male flowers.Insects, namely stingless bees (Apidae), fruit flies (Drosophilidae) and grass flies (Chloropidae), transmit the disease from banana to banana after being drawn to the infected nectar. If the disease has been transmitted by insects the symptoms tend to first appear on the male buds of the banana plant.
The knife (panga) is used almost universally in African agriculture. Use of contaminated knives was a common method for disease spread when the disease first originated but increased knowledge of BXW transmission has led to increased numbers knives being disinfected after use. Herbicides are now advised as a more economical and effective way of destroying infected banana crop.
Infected plant material
BXW infects all parts of the plant. Disease spread has been primarily linked with the transport of plants shoots for replanting. Other parts of the plant such as the male buds (used in banana beer production) and mulch (banana waste material) can also expose novel regions to the disease.
The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.
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