TR4, is a strain of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense (Foc) fungus. Foc has been known to cause Panama disease in bananas since the early 20th century, and has caused major yield loss in bananas, an important staple food in many countries. The spread of TR4 is of major concern as it affects the Cavendish variety of banana, a variety which accounts for 47% of global production, and is the main variety grown for export.
TR4 has devastated the global banana industry for over 30 years, notably in South-East Asia, with the fungal disease spreading across India, Australia and more recently, Colombia. In August 2019, TR4 was confirmed to have spread across South America with Colombia, one of the world’s leading exporters of Cavendish bananas declaring a national emergency at risk of major crop losses at a national level. The fear is that the TR4 strain will spread across the world’s banana producing countries, resulting in the destruction of the current leading variety similar to what occurred with Gros Michel bananas and TR1 in the 1950s.
At the end of 2019, a new species portal was added to CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) to bring together information and data related to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense tropical race 4, more commonly known as TR4. This portal, which is Open Access and available to all, brings together data on the current distribution, the latest research on the problem, and provides links to practical identification and management information.
For more information on the TR4 Portal, we invite you to visit the CABI’s Invasives Blog
Or, you can go directly to CABI’s TR4 Portal to view the TR4 distribution map, various factsheets on TR4 and other valuable resources related to this devastating disease.