Bacterial Soft Rot of Banana

  • Symptoms

  • Trigger

  • Biological Control

  • Chemical Control

  • Preventive Measures

Bacterial Soft Rot of Banana

Pectobacterium carotovorum


In a Nutshell

  • Rotting of the in internal tissue in root suckers, accompanied by foul odor.
  • Rotting of the collar region and the leaf base with brown or yellow water-soaked areas.
  • Trunk bases may become swollen and split.
  • General lack of vigor of the tree, followed by the drying out of leaves.




Initial symptoms in recently planted suckers appear as rotting of the internal tissue of pseudostems and roots. This is characterized by dark brown or yellow water soaked areas in the internal tissues and a foul odor. When affected plants are cut open at the collar region, yellowish to reddish ooze is visible. Rotting of the collar region is followed by sudden vigor loss of the leaves, that later dry out completely. At later stages of the disease, the trunk base becomes swollen and splits. In older plants, rotting occurs at the collar region and also at the leaf bases. If affected plants are pulled out, they break at the level of the collar region leaving the bulb and roots in the soil. Outbreaks are often observed 3-5 month after planting.


The disease is caused by a subspecies of the soil-borne bacterium Pectobacterium carotovorum. It survives in moist soils and in crop debris. It is spread between trees via rain and irrigation water but also by infected plant material. Mainly young plants (root suckers) are affected by the disease. The pathogen enters the root system through natural and artificial wounds in the plant tissue. The symptoms are due to the decay of the internal tissues of the trunk and the impairment of water and nutrient transport. High humidity and frequent rains favor bacterial growth. The infection is worse during hot, wet weather conditions during summer. Economic losses are most severe when the disease occurs at the time of bunch formation.

Biological Control

No biological treatment seems to be available at the moment to treat this disease. Once the disease is detected there is no possibility to heal infected plants or to reduce the infection. Please contact us in case you know of any biological treatments.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Once the disease is dectected there is no possibility to heal infected plants or to reduce the infection. Please contact us in case you know of any chemical treatments.

Preventive Measures

Comply with strict quarantine measures.,Use healthy planting material from reliable sources or from healthy root stocks.,Keep proper space between plants.,Ensure good drainage to avoid water accumulation in the field.,Only apply properly composted organic material.,Regularly check your plants or fields for any sign of the disease.,Disinfect equipment and tools with bleach after field work.,Crop rotation with resistant and non-host crops is recommended for at least three years.,Ensure careful handling during cultivation.,Avoid mechanical injuries.,When the foliage is wet do no work in the fields or fertilize.,Harvest during dry weather conditions.,Remove infected plants and destroy them by burning.