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Burrowing nematode

Scientific name: Radopholus similis

Host plant

Banana, plantain, citrus, coconut, ginger, tea, black pepper, are the preferred plants but potato, eggplant, tomato, bird of paradise, some ornamentals, and some grasses and weeds may serve as the alternate hosts

Affected plant stages

All plant stages

Affected plant parts

Corms and primary roots


The nematode burrows the root tips and other underground parts of their hosts forming extensive cavities, hence the name.

On banana, the damage starts when the nematode enters into the primary roots and attacks the corm that cause reddened spots around the feeding sites. This infection is called as 'Blackhead toppling disease', wherein the entire feeding site is exposed, showing the blackened and broken primary roots. Infected plants are uprooted at any growth stages but the damage is more common during the fruiting stage. The uprooted plant falls down together with the adjoining sucker which could be the succeeding fruit bearing stem. During a severe infestation, the plants are weaken, have poor growth, low yields, and are more susceptible to Fusarium wilt disease.

Conditions that favor development

  1. Infected planting materials
  2. Presence of weeds that serves as the alternate hosts

Prevention and control

  1. Remove and peel discolored spots on corms and disinfect these with warm water before planting (55 C for 15-25 minutes)
  2. Use disease-free suckers
  3. Mulch the plants with organic matter
  4. Support fruiting pseudostem with poles or rope to prevent uprooting
  5. Plant sugarcane as rotational crop to banana

External Links and References can be found here

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