Cigar end rot is a disease that can ruin your banana farming venture. It is prevalent in almost all banana growing tracts. It affects the developing fingers which results in the tip ends of the fingers drying up. The ends resemble the greying ash of a cigar. Affected fingers are rejected in the market and hence can result in huge losses. It is therefore important to control the disease before its too late. The fungal disease can also attack ripening banana fruits making a dry rot to develop at the flower ends. During transportation or storage, cigar end rot can progress to the entire fruit. This disease is common when there is high rainfall.
Disease Cycle of Cigar end rot
The pathogen gets into the banana finger through the flower resulting in the formation of a dry rot that spreads to immature banana fingers. Fungal spores/ conidia are spread by air currents and the days mainly occur in the early days of fruit formation. The infection spreads slowly as the fruit develops leading to skin blackening. With time, the tips of the infected fingers are fully covered with a powdery mass of spores. Cigar end rot is common in plantations with excessive shade and high altitude areas with moist conditions.
Common Signs & Symptoms
- Presence of black necrosis which spreads from the perianth to the tip of immature fingers.
- Dry rot develops on the pulp of the infected banana fruit. At times, the rot can spread even up to 2 centimeters from the tip of the fingers.
- The wrinkled necrotic tissue eventually becomes completely covered with the mycelia of the fungi.
- The entire finger can get rotten especially when the emerging fingers are affected.
- The formed fungal spores are hyaline, oblong to cylindrical. These spores are mostly in small groups.
- Since they are asexual spores, conidia are borne at the ends of tapering phialides.
- The dormant mycelia are the primary source of inoculum while air and soil-borne conidia are the secondary sources of inoculum.
- High humidity ranging from 90-92%, high rainfall and low temperatures, and weak plants provide an ideal environment for disease development.
Management of Cigar end Rot Disease
- Farmers should use healthy and disease-free and resistant plants.
- Filed sanitation should be maintained at all times. Since the disease is carried by an alternate host, all potential hosts of the fungus should be removed from the banana plantation immediately. Dead, hanging leaves should be removed from the plants to lower the inoculum level.
- Once the fruits have been formed, the perianth and pistil should be removed immediately. Infected fingers should be removed and destroyed.
- Enough aeration should be ensured in the plantation by minimizing the overcrowding of the banana plants.
- Polythene sleeves should be placed over the stems before the fingers emerge.
- Maturing stems should be constantly bagged.
- The bunches should be sprayed with copper fungicides to prevent disease formation.
- To minimize the chances of post-harvest infestation, ripening room and packing stations should be kept clean.
controlled, cigar end rot can result in huge losses. Over the past few years,
the occurrence of the disease has increased simply because farmers are unable
to employ proper management techniques. Healthy and disease-resistant varieties
are what anyone should consider planting.