Share This Article:

Can Changes in Soil Properties in Organic Banana Production Suppress Fusarium Wilt?

Abstract Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:424KB) PP. 181-195
DOI: 10.4236/nr.2015.63017    3,233 Downloads   3,932 Views   Citations


Organic agriculture promotes disease suppression through healthy soils by increasing biological activity and diversity through the application of organic fertilizers and increasing organic inputs. Fusarium wilt of bananas (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Fcubense) (Foc), also known as Panama disease, has been a devastating disease throughout the world. So far, no fungicides or cultural measures have been found that control Foc sufficiently. The aim of this research was to assess whether organic-based farming systems were more resilient than inorganic farming systems to soil borne diseases, in particular Fusarium wilts. A survey was conducted comparing five organic and five conventional banana plantations at paired sites in north Queensland, Australia. Soil samples were collected and analysed for chemical, physical and biological soil health indicators. Disease development of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici in tomatoes and Foc in bananas were studied in pot trials to pursue clues for identifying Fusarium suppressive soil traits. Organic soils from the survey showed higher microbial activity and lower disease symptom expression (both with tomatoes and bananas) than conventional soils. In the survey, nematode diversity and soil sulphate content were recurring indicators in all experiments showing close correlations to pathogen growth, disease expression and plant health. Organic soils were lower in plant-parasitic nematodes and sulphate sulphur levels and higher in nematode diversity, labile soil C and microbial indicators. Soil conduciveness or suppression of Foc appeared to be largely governed by competition for carbon. Measurement of soil microbial enzyme activity, nematode community structure and diversity and possibly sulphate sulphur seem to provide a relatively reliable indicator for general disease suppression. Differences between organic and conventional agriculture cannot be related to single management practices, but may be linked to synergies among system components.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Geense, P. , Pattison, A. , Kukulies, T. , Scholberg, J. and Molina, A. (2015) Can Changes in Soil Properties in Organic Banana Production Suppress Fusarium Wilt?. Natural Resources, 6, 181-195. doi: 10.4236/nr.2015.63017.


[1] Stirling, G.R. and Pattison, A.B. (2008) Beyond Chemical Dependency for Managing Plant-Parasitic Nematodes: Examples from the Banana, Pineapple and Vegetable Industries of Tropical and Subtropical Australia. Australasian Plant Pathology, 37, 254-267.
[2] Kernot, I., Lindsay, S., Campagnolo, D., Daniells, J., Evans, D., Goebel, R., Gunther, M., Lemin, C., Pattison, T., Peterson, R., Pinese, B. and Wharton, D. (1998) Tropical Banana Information Kit. Department of Primary Industries, Nambour.
[3] Anonymous (2001) Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Action Plan. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, 64.
[4] Pattison, A.B., Moody, P.W., Badcock, K.A., Smith, L.J., Armour, J.A., Rasiah, V., Cobon, J.A., Gulino, L.-M., Mayer, R. and Lindsay, S. (2008) Development of Key Soil Health Indicators for the Australian Banana Industry. Applied Soil Ecology, 40, 155-164.
[5] Rasiah, R.V., Armour, J.D., Moody, P.W., Pattison, A.B., Lindsay, S. and Florentine, S. (2009) Characterising and Improving the Deteriorating Trends in Soil Physical Quality under Bananas. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 47, 574-584.
[6] Kleiese, Y., Prove, B., McShane, T., Moody, P. and Reghenzani, J. (1997) Nutrient Loss Study in the Johnstone River Catchment. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, 8.
[7] Moody, P.W. and Aitken, R.L. (1997) Soil Acidification under Some Tropical Agricultural Systems. 1. Rates of Acidification and Contributing Factors. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 35, 163-173.
[8] Pegg, K.G., Moore, N.Y. and Bentley, S. (1996) Fusarium Wilt of Banana in Australia: A Review. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 47, 637-650.
[9] Thusrston, H.D. (1998) Tropical Plant Diseases. 2nd Edition, American Phytopathological Society, New York.
[10] Singh, R.S. (2000) Diseases of Fruit Crops. Science Publishers Inc., USA.
[11] Marois, J.J. and Ploetz, R.C. (1990) Biological Control of Diseases Caused by Fusarium oxysporum. In: Ploetz, R.C., Ed., Fusarium Wilt of Banana, APS Press, 77-81.
[12] Dita, M.A., Waalwijk, C., Buddenhagen, I.W., Souza, M.T. and Kema, G.H.J. (2010) A Molecular Diagnostic for Tropical Race 4 of the Banana Fusarium Wilt Pathogen. Plant Pathology, 59, 348-357.
[13] Ploetz, R.C. (1994) Panama Disease: Return of the First Banana Menace. International Journal of Pest Management, 40, 326-336.
[14] Ploetz, R.C., Thomas, J.E. and Slabaugh, W.R. (2003) Diseases of Banana and Plantain. In: Ploetz, R.C., Ed., Diseases of Tropical Fruit Crops, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK, 73-134.
[15] Bancroft, J. (1876) Report of the Board Appointed to Enquire into the Cause of Disease Affecting Livestock and Plants. Queensland, 1876. Votes and Proceedings, 3, 1011-1038.
[16] Hennessy, C., Walduck, G., Daly, A. and Padovan, A. (2005) Weed Hosts of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.Fcubense Tropical Race 4 in Northern Australia. Australasian Plant Pathology, 34, 115-117.
[17] Meldrum, R.A., Fraser-Smith, S., Tran-Nguyen, L.T.T., Daly, A.M. and Aitken, E.A.B. (2012) Presence of Putative Pathogenicity Genes in Isolates of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.Fcubense from Australia. Australasian Plant Pathology, 41, 551-557.
[18] Pattison, A.B. and Lindsay, S. (2006) Banana Root and Soil Health User’s Manual. Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
[19] Smith, M.K., Whiley, A.W., Searle, C., Langdon, P.W., Schaffer, B. and Pegg, K.G. (1998) Micropropagated Bananas Are More Susceptible to Fusarium Wilt than Plants Grown from Conventional Material. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 49, 1133-1139.
[20] De Wit, J. and Verhoog, H. (2007) Organic Values and the Conventionalization of Organic Agriculture. NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 54, 449-462.
[21] Kristiansen, P. and Merfield, C. (2006) Overview of Organic Agriculture. In: Kristiansen, P., Taij, A. and Reganold, J., Eds., Organic Agriculture, a Global Perspective, CAB International Publishing, Wallingford, 1-23.
[22] Fliessbach, A. and Mader, P. (2000) Microbial Biomass and Size-Density Fractions Differ between Soils of Organic and Conventional Agricultural Systems. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 32, 757-768.
[23] Lundquist, E.J., Scow, K.M., Jackson, L.E., Uesugi, S.L. and Johnson, C.R. (1999) Rapid Response of Soil Microbial Communities from Conventional, Low Input, and Organic Farming Systems to a Wet/Dry Cycle. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 31, 1661-1675.
[24] Mader, P., Fliessbach, A., Dubois, D., Gunst, L., Fried, P. and Niggli, U. (2002) Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming. Science, 296, 1694-1697.
[25] Lockie, S. and Halpin, D. (2005) The “Conventionalization” Thesis Reconsidered: Structural and Ideological Transformation of Australian Organic Agriculture. Sociologica Ruralis, 45, 284-307.
[26] Karlen, D.L., Ditzler, C.A. and Andrews, S.S. (2003) Soil Quality: Why and How? Geoderma, 114, 145-156.
[27] van Bruggen, A.H.C. and Semenov, A.V. (2000) In Search of Biological Indicators for Soil Health and Disease Suppression. Applied Soil Ecology, 15, 13-24.
[28] Alabouvette, C. (1990) Biological Control of Fusarium Wilts in Suppressive Soils. In: Hornby, D., Ed., Biological Control of Soilborne Plant Pathogens, CAB International Publishing, Wallingford, 27-43.
[29] Alabouvette, C., Raaijmakers, J.M., de Boer, W., Notz, R., Défago, G., Steinberg, C. and Lemanceau, P. (2006) Concepts and Methods to Assess the Phytosanitary Quality of Soils. In: Bloem, J., Hopkins, D.W. and Benedetti, A., Eds., Microbiological Methods for Assessing Soil Quality, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, 257-269.
[30] García-Ruiz, R., Ochoa, V., Viñegla, B., Hinojosa, M.B., Peña-Santiago, R., Liébanas, G., Linares, J.C. and Carreirra, J.A. (2009) Soil Enzymes, Nematode Community and Selected Physio-Chemical Properties as Soil Quality Indicators in Organic and Conventional Olive Oil Farming: Influence of Seasonality and Site Features. Applied Soil Ecology, 41, 305-314.
[31] Isbell, R.F. (1996) The Australian Soil Classification. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
[32] Simpson, B., Blogg, D., Haydon, G., Ruddle, L., Beswick, A., Rayner, D., Grundy, M. and Smith, D. (2004) SafeGuage 1.1.4. Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Brisbane.
[33] Moody, P.W. and Cong, P.T. (2008) Soil Constraints and Management Package (SCAMP): Guidelines for Management in Tropical Upland Soils. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, 86.
[34] Schnürer, J. and Rosswall, T. (1982) Fluorescein Diacetate Hydrolysis as a Measure of Total Microbial Activity in Soil and Litter. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 43, 1256-1261.
[35] Eivazi, F. and Tabatabai, M.A. (1988) Glucosidases and Galacosidases in Soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 20, 601-606.
[36] Whitehead, A.G. and Hemming, J.R. (1965) A Comparison of Some Quantitative Methods Extracting Small Vermiform Nematodes from the Soil. Annals of Applied Biology, 55, 25-38.
[37] Yeates, G.W. and Bongers, T. (1999) Nematode Diversity in Agroecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 74, 113-135.
[38] Ferris, H., Bongers, T. and de Goede, R.G.M. (2001) A Framework for Soil Food Web Diagnostics: Extension of the Nematode Faunal Analysis Concept. Applied Soil Ecology, 18, 13-29.
[39] Orjeda, G. (1998) Evaluation of Musa Germplasm to Sigatoka Diseases and Fusarium Wilt. INIBAP Technical Guidelines. International Network for Improvement of Banana and Plantain, Montpellier, 60.
[40] Turner, D.W. (1972) Dry Matter Production, Leaf Area and Growth Analysis of Bananas. Australian Journal of Experimental Agricultural and Animal Husbandry, 12, 216-224.
[41] Payne, R.W., Murray, D.A., Harding, S.A., Baird, D.B. and Soutar, D.M. (2008) GenStat for windows (11th Edition) Introduction. VSN International, Hemel Hempstead.
[42] Geense, P. (2010) Soil Health in Organic and Conventional Banana Production and Its Effect on Fusarium Wilt of Bananas. Master’s Thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen.
[43] Balik, J., Kulhanek, M., Cerny, J., Szakova, J., Pavlikova, D. and Cermak, P. (2009) Differences in Soil Sulfur Fractions Due to Limitation of Atmospheric Deposition. Plant Soil Environment, 55, 344-352.
[44] Duah-Yentumi, S. and Johnson, D.B. (1986) Changes in Soil Microflora in Response to Repeated Applications of Some Pesticides. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 18, 629-635.
[45] Moeskops, B., Sukristiyonubowo, Buchan, D., Sleutel, S., Herawaty, L., Husen, E., Saraswati, R., Setyorini, D. and De Neve, S. (2010) Soil Microbial Communities and Activities under Intensive Organic and Conventional Vegetable Farming in West Java, Indonesia. Applied Soil Ecology, 45, 112-120.
[46] Singh, J. and Singh, D.K. (2005) Bacterial, Azotobacter, Actinomycetes and Fungal Population in Soil after Diazinon, Imidacloprid and Lindane Treatments in Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B: Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes, 40, 785-800.
[47] Elmqvist, T., Folke, C., Nystrom, N., Peterson, G., Bengtsson, J., Walker, B. and Norberg, J. (2003) Response Diversity, Ecosystem Change and Resilience. Front Ecological Environment, 1, 488-494.[0488:RDECAR]2.0.CO;2
[48] Kennedy, A.C. and Smith, K.L. (1995) Soil Microbial Diversity and the Sustainability of Agricultural Soils. Plant and Soil, 170, 75-86.
[49] Torsvik, V. and Ovreas, L. (2002) Microbial Diversity and Function in Soil: From Genes to Ecosystems. Current Opinion in Microbiology, 5, 240-245.
[50] Abang, M.M., Baum, M., Ceccarelli, S., Grando, S., Linde, C.C., Yahyaoui, A., Zhan, J. and McDonald, B.A. (2006) Differential Selection on Rhynchosporium secalis during Parasitic and Saprophytic Phases in the Barley Scald Disease Cycle. Phytopathology, 96, 1214-1222.
[51] Gandon, S. and Michalakis, Y. (2002) Local Adaptation, Evolutionary Potential and Host Parasite Coevolution: Interactions between Migration, Mutation, Population Size and Generation Time. Journal for Evolutionary Biology, 15, 451-462.
[52] Yardim, E.N. and Edwards, C.A. (1998) The Effects of Chemical Pest, Disease and Weed Management Practices on the Trophic Structure of Nematode Populations in Tomato Agroecosystems. Applied Soil Ecology, 7, 137-147.
[53] Cook, J.R. and Baker, K.F. (1983) The Nature and Practice of Biological Control of Plant Pathogens. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.