Black Sigatoka is the main constraint to banana production worldwide, and epidemic outbreaks are continuously causing huge losses. Successful management of diseases requires a profound knowledge of the epidemiological factors that influence disease dynamics. Information regarding alternative hosts of Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the causal agent, is still very scarce. To date, only Heliconia psittacorum has been reported as an alternative plant host, and we hypothesized that other plants can house P. fijiensis. In the present report, ten plant species with suspicious leaf spots were collected inside and around commercial banana crops in Mexico. Diagnostic PCR gave positive amplification for six of these plant species, and DNA sequencing confirmed the presence of the pathogen in four. This is the first report of the presence of P. fijiensis in unrelated plants and it represents a breakthrough in the current knowledge of black Sigatoka. This finding is very important given the polycyclic nature of this disease whose successful management requires the control of initial inoculum to minimize epidemic outbreaks. The results presented herein can be used to introduce innovations in integrated black Sigatoka management programs to reduce initial inoculum, and help the international initiative to reduce the use of fungicides in banana production.
Vázquez-Euán, R., Chi-Manzanero, B., Hernández-Velázquez, I., Tzec-Simá, M., Islas-Flores, I., Martínez-Bolaños, L., Garrido-Ramírez, E. R., & Canto-Canché, B. (2019). Identification of new hosts of pseudocercospora fijiensis suggests innovative pest management programs for black sigatoka disease in banana plantations. Agronomy, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9100666