Pest categorisation of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4
The EFSA Plant Health Panel performed a pest categorisation of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 (Foc TR4), an ascomycete fungus causing Fusarium wilt (Panama disease) on Musa spp. Foc TR4 is pathogenic to the commercial banana varieties including those of the ‘Cavendish’ group and is considered as the most destructive among Foc haplotypes.
Uncertainty exists on the host range of Foc TR4, since it has not been demonstrated whether it can infect plant species other than Musa spp., which were previously reported as hosts of other Foc races. Foc TR4 is morphologically and physiologically identical to other representatives of the Fusarium oxysporum Species Complex (FOSC), but all Foc TR4 isolates belong to a single clonal lineage within the vegetative compatibility groups 01213-01216. Several PCR protocols are described in the literature, but their specificity has been questioned as they may generate false positives.
The pathogen is not included in EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/2072 and is not reported as present in the EU territory.
Several potential entry pathways and means of spread were identified, including host plants for planting other than vitroplants, fresh fruits and leaves of host plants, soil and other substrates originating in infested third countries.
Host availability and climate suitability occurring in some areas of the EU are favourable for the establishment of Foc TR4. Being a soil-borne pathogen, eradication of Foc TR4 once it enters a new area is very difficult. Therefore, effective quarantine measures are essential in pathogen-free areas. Although not specifically targeting against Foc TR4, phytosanitary measures are currently available to prevent the introduction of the pathogen into the EU. Considering that banana-growing EU countries account for over 12% of the EU banana supply, it is expected that the economic impact of Foc TR4 on the European banana production areas would be devastating.
Foc TR4 satisfies the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for this pathogen to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest.
|Pest Risk Analysis||Link to file|
- Czech Republic