Incursion and eradication of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 from Israel
During July 2016, leaf-yellowing and wilting symptoms, accompanied by internal vascular discolorations of rhizomes and pseudostems were observed in mature Cavendish banana plants (Musa x paradisiaca cv. Grand Naine) by farmers from Shfeya (Carmel coastal plain). Two months later, similar symptoms were also observed by farmers from Kibbutz Ein Gev, along the eastern shores of Lake Galilee. Samples were collected from symptomatic banana plants and brought to the Plant Protection and Inspection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture for diagnosis. As a result, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense was isolated from symptomatic banana tissue and identified by specific PCR in July 2016. The presence of the tropical race 4 (TR4) was confirmed by sequencing different regions of the genome (28S ribosomal RNA, a putative pathogenicity protein gene, and TR4 marker genomic sequence). It is supposed that the fungus originated from Jordan, a neighbouring country where its presence has been confirmed since 2013. This was the first time that F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4 affecting Cavendish banana was reported in Israel. The two isolated outbreak areas were confined and placed under strict supervision and surveillance by the Israeli NPPO. The area was fenced and cordoned off to avoid entry of humans and stray animals. All affected plants were destroyed, and irrigation terminated. Results of intensive surveys which have been conducted since 2016 have now confirmed that the pathogen has not spread to adjacent plots and that no new incursions have been reported. The NPPO therefore concluded that the F. oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4 has been successfully eradicated.
The pest status of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense TR4 in Israel is officially declared as: Absent: pest eradicated.
NPPO of Israel (2018-05).