EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 1998 Num. article: 1998/128

Black Sigatoka disease of banana and plantain is spreading in the Americas

Black Sigatoka (or black leaf streak disease), caused by Mycosphaerella fijiensis, is one of the most serious disease of banana and plantain. Although it is not a quarantine pest for the EPPO region, it is useful to provide new data on its current spread in the Americas. The pathogen is closely related to M. musicola (yellow Sigatoka). Symptoms caused by M. fijiensis and M. musicola are very similar, but the two pathogens can now be differentiated in culture and in leaf tissue by PCR. It seems that, as black Sigatoka is more aggressive, it has replaced yellow Sigatoka in most banana-growing regions where both of them were present. Symptoms caused by M. fijiensis are characterized by brown flecks which are first observed on the leaves and then enlarge to form necrotic lesions with yellow haloes and light grey centres. Large areas of foliar tissue can be destroyed which result in yield reduction and premature ripening of fruit. M. fijiensis is disseminated locally by ascospores and conidia. Long-distance spread is likely to be ensured by the movement of infected suckers or diseased leaves. M. fijiensis (as well as M. musicola) was first observed in the Sigatoka valley on the island of Fiji in 1963. Subsequently, the disease was reported throughout the Pacific and Asia. It was then reported in Latin America in 1972 in Honduras where it spread to many other countries (northwards to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico; and southward to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador). In Africa, the first record was in Gabon in 1978. It then spread along the west coast to Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Guinea. The disease also occurs in Congo and probably spread eastwards across Zaire to Burundi, Rwanda, western Tanzania and Uganda. An independent introduction occurred on the island of Pemba around 1987 and M. fijiensis spread there to Zanzibar and coastal areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
Coming back to the situation in the Americas, recent reports of the disease have been made. M. fijiensis was found for the first time in 1991 in Venezuela and in Cuba. It was confirmed in Jamaica in 1995. CPPC reports that it is also present in Bolivia (found in 1996, Tejerina et al., 1997), Haiti, Peru, and that Brazil has very recently noted its introduction.

Distribution List: Mycosphaerella fijiensis

Asia: Bhutan, China (Guangdong, Hainan, Yunnan), Indonesia (Java (unconfirmed), Kalimantan, Maluku, Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsular, Sarawak), Philippines, Singapore (unconfirmed), Taiwan, Thailand (unconfirmed), Vietnam.

Africa: Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia (unconfirmed).

North America: Mexico, USA (Hawaii).

Central America and Caribbean: Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama.

South America: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.

Oceania: American Samoa, Australia (Queensland), Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands.


CABI Distribution maps of plant diseases, no. 500 (1997).

Pollard, G.V. (1998) Black Sigatoka, Mycosphaerella fijiensis var. fijiensis.
CPPC Circular Letter, no. 2/98, 1st June 1998. FAO Sub Regional Office for the Caribbean, Barbados.

Tejerina, J.C.; Stover, R.H.; Ploetz, R.C.; Romanoff, S. (1997) First report of black Sigatoka in Bolivia.
Plant Disease, 81(11), p 1332.

Pro-MED-mail posts (Promed@usa.healthnet.org)
Black Sigatoka: Jamaica (1996-06-30)
Black Sigatoka: Fact sheet (1998-03-19)
Black Sigatoka: Venezuela (1998-03-12)
Black Sigatoka: Caribbean (1998-03-10)
Available also from Internet: http://www.agnic.org.pmp