Control Approaches against Vascular Wilt Disease of Elaeis guineensis Jacq. Caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. elaeidis.
The oil palm, Elaeis guineensis Jacq., is the most important and highest oil yielding crop in the world. Two types of oils are produced from its fruits, crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel oil (PKO). Palm oil is used for food purposes, oleo-chemicals, pharmaceutical purposes, health supplement and as a source of biofuel. Among the various challenges faced by farmers of this crop are diseases like Ganoderma (common in Asia), bud rot (Latin America) and vascular wilt (Africa) that affect growth and reduce oil yields. Vascular wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. elaeidis results in serious damages on oil palm culture in Africa. Various methods of control which have been tried against the disease are: selection of resistant or tolerant plant material, soil renewal, chemical control, stimulation of defense reactions, and the use of cover crop and potassium (K) fertilizer. The only most feasible and eco-friendly control method presently considered to be most effective against the disease is research for resistant plant material through artificial inoculation of plantlets in the pre-nursery with pathogenic fungus. Selection is based on the sensitivity of oil palm strains to the fungal inoculum. The present review outlines the importance of oil palm and the various approaches to fight against vascular wilt disease, with emphasis on biological control by the use of resistant plant material.
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