A suspected new case of Panama disease tropical race 4 (Panama TR4) has been found on a fourth banana farm in the Tully Valley.
Biosecurity Queensland surveillance officers identified a banana plant displaying symptoms of Panama TR4 during routine surveillance in January.
On 4 February, 2020, the grower was advised that a sample of the plant tested positive to the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for Panama TR4.
The sample is undergoing confirmatory testing using the VCG test – which is the more detailed vegetative compatibility group. Therefore, it is likely to take several weeks before a conclusive result is known.
“First and foremost, our thoughts are with the grower affected,” Australian Banana Growers’ Council chair Stephen Lowe said. “This is no doubt a challenging time for them and their family, and we will help them through this in any way we can.
“While as an industry we knew this disease would eventually spread, this is still devastating news that no-one wanted to hear.
“The new suspected detection is another reminder that Panama TR4 is here to stay and all growers need to maintain strong biosecurity practices.
“Biosecurity Queensland has a strong surveillance program in place and this has assisted with early detection of the disease in the past, and has again with this latest case.
“It has been an incredible feat that the disease has been contained to such a small area in almost five years. Indeed, this latest case is in close proximity to the other affected farms in Tully. However, there can be no doubt that it is spreading – and sadly it will continue to do so.”
ABGC will keep you informed as new developments happen.
For more information on Panama TR4, see here
Read the joint Biosecurity Queensland and the ABGC media release here