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Modeling the temporal evolution of cocoa black pod rot disease caused by Phytophthora megakarya

Nembot Fomba C.G., Takam Soh P., Ten Hoopen G.M., Dumont Y.. 2018. Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences, 41 (18) : p. 8816-8843.

DOI: 10.1002/mma.5206

Black pod rot, caused by Phytophthora megakarya, is the main cause of cocoa losses in Cameroon. A few studies have focused on describing black pod epidemics in cocoa yet numerous questions remain. Here, an epidemiological model describing the temporal evolution of cocoa black pod, taking into account the development stages of pods, is developed and studied. In particular, the relative importance of primary and secondary infection in disease dynamics is investigated. Our theoretical study shows the existence of a disease free equilibrium and at least one endemic equilibrium. We highlight two threshold parameters, related to direct and indirect infections that summarize all possible dynamics of the system. Then, based on the literature, we define a periodic pod recruitment function and provide several numerical simulations to study the impact of phytosanitary pod removal on disease dynamics. We show that intense and regular sanitary harvest could lead to complete disease eradication. Our results also highlight the importance of the environmental spores reservoir in disease dynamics, such that future field experiments and observations should focus on it.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; phytophthora; maladie des plantes; cameroun; phytophthora megakarya

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