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Common Banana Diseases: What Causes Black Spots On Banana Fruit
The banana plant native to Asia ( Musa paradisiaca ) is the largest perennial in the world and is grown for its popular fruit. These tropical members of the Musaceae family are prone to a number of diseases, many of which lead to black spots on banana fruits. What causes black spot disease in bananas and are there any methods to treat black spots on bananas? Read on to find out more.
Normal black spots on a banana
Black spot disease in bananas should not be confused with black spots on the fruit of a banana tree. Blackish / brown spots are common on the outside of the banana fruit. These spots are commonly known as bruises. These bruises mean that the fruit is ripe and that the acid it contains has been converted to sugar.
In other words, the banana is at the height of its sweetness. It's just a preference for most of the people. Some like their bananas with a little odor when the fruit is just turning from green to yellow, and others prefer the sweetness that comes from black dots on banana fruit peels.
Black spot disease in bananas
Now, if you are growing your own bananas and you see dark spots on the plant itself, it is likely that your banana plant has a fungal disease. Black sigatoka is one such fungal disease ( Mycosphaerella fijiensis ) that thrives in tropical climates. This is a leaf blotch disease that actually results in dark spots on the foliage.
These dark spots enlarge and cover an entire affected leaf. The leaf turns brown or yellow. This leaf spot disease reduces the production of fruit. Remove infected leaves and prune the plant's foliage for better air circulation and regular application of fungicide.
Anthracnose causes brown spots on the skin of the fruit, which appear as large brownish-black spots and black spots on green fruits. A mushroom ( Colletotrichum musae ), Anthracnose is promoted by humid conditions and spread by rainfall. Commercial plantations affected by this fungal disease wash and soak fruits in fungicide before shipping.
Other diseases of bananas that cause black spots
Panama disease is another fungal disease that is caused by Fusarium oxysporum , a fungal pathogen that enters the banana tree through the xylem. It then spreads over the entire vascular system and affects the entire plant. The spreading spores cling to the vessel walls and block the flow of water, which in turn causes the leaves of the plant to wither and die. This disease is serious and can kill an entire plant. Its fungal pathogens can survive in the soil for nearly 20 years and are extremely difficult to control.
Panama disease is so serious that it almost completely wiped out the commercial banana industry. At the time, 50 years ago, the most commonly grown banana was called Gros Michel, but Fusarium wilt, or Panama Disease, changed everything. The disease began in Central America and quickly spread to most of the world's commercial plantations that had to be burned down. Today, another strain, the Cavendish, is again threatened with destruction due to the resurgence of a similar Fusarium called Tropical Race 4.
Treating black spots on the banana can be tricky. Once a banana plant has a disease, it can often be very difficult to stop its progress. Keeping the plant pruned so it has excellent air circulation, be vigilant for pests like aphids, and routine use of fungicides should all be used to control banana diseases that cause black spots.
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