Panama disease in Queensland bananas

A banana plant with browning leaves affected by panama disease.

A banana plant with browning leaves affected by panama disease. Biosecurity Queensland.


Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 has been detected in Queensland, Australia.  In a blow to lovers of Cavendish bananas, this devastating vascular soil borne disease of bananas has been discovered in Tully, North Queensland, Australia.  This news is particularly difficult for Queenslanders to accept, as they are affectionately known within Australia as “Banana Benders”, a subtle indication of how important the banana industry once was in Queensland.

The plant disease has been in the Northern Territory for several years now, with serious economic impacts on the banana industry there.  Elsewhere in the world it poses a risk to subsistence farmers as well as the commercial producers.  Surprisingly, there is presently no known reliable model of the potential distribution of this disease globally.  Whilst it is widely distributed, there are remarkably few distribution records that have been geocoded sufficiently to support reliable bioclimatic modelling.

Panama disease is the colloquial name for the group of Fusarium oxysporum pathogens affecting bananas.  You can find out more about this disease at the panama disease website.