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Ecological regulation of black leaf streak disease driven by plant richness in banana agroecosystems

Poeydebat C., Carval D., Tixier P., Daribo M.O., De Lapeyre de Bellaire L.. 2018. Phytopathology, 108 (10) : p. 1184-1195.

DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO-12-17-0402-R

Black leaf streak disease (BLSD), caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis, is an important threat to banana production. Although its control relies on costly and unsustainable use of fungicides, ecological regulation of BLSD linked to field-scale plant diversity has received little attention. We monitored banana phytometers in plots in banana-based fields where no fungicides were applied. Within each plot, we measured plant richness in three strata, canopy openness, necrotic leaf removal, Musa abundance and richness. We quantified ecological regulation of five BLSD parameters (inoculum sources, spore abundance, lesion density, incubation time, and the area under the disease progression curve) and identified, using structural equation modeling, the characteristics of the plant community and the mechanisms likely responsible for the regulation. Regulation occurred, but most effectively before lesion formation, and was mainly related to plant richness between 1.5 and 5m high. A barrier effect, rather than a dilution effect, more likely limited spore abundance. Our results support the hypothesis that the potential effects of plant richness on leaf-scale microclimate variability and on the diversity of epiphyllic microorganisms are involved in the regulation of incubation time and lesion density. Field-scale management of plant diversity may be a promising lever to foster ecological regulation of BLSD.

Mots-clés : musa; mycosphaerella fijiensis; maladie des raies noires; banane; costa rica

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