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Phyllosticta cavendishii (banana freckle) in the Northern Territory

Publication Date
Fri, 15 Jul 2022, 00:01
Last Updated
July 15, 2022, 1:01 a.m.
Report Number
Pest Id
Phyllosticta cavendishii - (PHYSCA)
Report Status
Phyllosticta cavendishii has a narrow host range, namely species in the genus Musa (section Musa) and their hybrids, in particular hybrids of M. acuminata (A genome) and M. balbisiana (B genome) in the AA, AAA, AAB, ABB and AAAB genomic subgroups (Hwang, Chen & Wu 1984; McMaster et al. 2020; Meredith 1968; Tsai, Chen & Liu 1993). References: Hwang, SC, Chen, C & Wu, F 1984, ‘An investigation on susceptibility of banana clones to fusarial wilt, freckle and marginal scorch disease in Taiwan’ (in Chinese), Plant Protection Bulletin (Taiwan), vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 155-61. McMaster, CA, Tran-Nguyen, LTT, Voutsinos, MY, Cook, SE, Condé, BD, West, SJ, Nguyen, TV & Liberato, JR 2020, ‘Outbreak of freckle disease (Phyllosticta cavendishii) on Cavendish bananas in Australia and the initial biosecurity response’, Plant Pathology, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 38-49. Meredith, DS 1968, ‘Freckle disease of banana in Hawaii caused by Phyllostictina musarum (Cke) Petr.’, Annals of Applied Biology, vol. 62, pp. 329-40. Tsai, YP, Chen, HP & Liu, SH 1993, ‘Freckle disease of banana in Taiwan’, International Symposium on Recent Developments in Banana Cultivation Technology, Taiwan, China, 14-18 December 1992, NIBAP-ASPNET, Chiuju, Pingtung, pp. 298-307.
Pest Status (ISPM 8 - 2021)
  • Present: not widely distributed and under official control
Geographical Distribution
Batchelor-Rum Jungle area, Northern Territory

In May 2022, Phyllosticta cavendishii was detected at a property in the Batchelor-Rum Jungle area in the Northern Territory on a dwarf Cavendish banana plant (Musa acuminata).

Infected premises are being placed under quarantine order to prevent movement of any potentially infected material while delimiting surveillance is ongoing.

The plant pathogenic fungus Phyllosticta cavendishii, which infects Cavendish and non-Cavendish banana plants, is not considered established in Australia. Phyllosticta cavendishii causes banana freckle, a fruit and leaf spotting disease of banana. Banana freckle appears as dark raised spots on the leaves or fruit. The infected surface is rough to touch with a sandpaper-like texture. On fruit, individual spots first appear as minute, reddish-brown flecks surrounded by a halo of dark-green, water-soaked tissue. Affected banana fruit are safe to eat but blemishes on the skin reduce their visual appeal and saleability. Banana freckle reduces the productivity of banana plants.
Contact for info
Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer Australian Government Department of Agriculture GPO Box 858 Canberra ACT 2601 [email protected]
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