BBTV, CMV and Other Viruses Affecting Banana in Asia and the Pacific

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Banana is the most important fruit of the Asia and Pacific region. Cavendish clones are grown for the export market, but many indigenous cultivars are produced and consumed locally. Banana agriculture is subject to many natural calamities, but diseases constitute a major problem. Virus diseases are serious, as insect vectors are abundant and there are many alternate hosts.

Banana bunchy top is the most important virus disease of banana is the region. Its vector, the banana aphid, is an efficient transfer agent and is believed to have coevolved with the crop in its center of origin in Southeast Asia. Banana mosaic is cosmopolitan, and is found wherever bananas are grown. The virus has many alternate hosts and can be readily transferred by a number of insect vectors. Fortunately, it causes only minor problems except for occasional outbreaks when alternate host crops are grown close to banana plantings. Banana streak is another virus disease of minor importance in the region, and is found mainly in the cultivar Mysore. The virus disease causing most concern is banana bract mosaic, which affects many cultivars and is spreading rapidly throughout the Philippines and India. Bract mosaic causes a marked reduction in yield and is transmitted by the banana aphid as well as corn and cotton aphids.

L.V. Magnaye
R.V. Valmayor