Written Paper

Virus-indexing technology for production of quality banana planting material: a boon to the tissue-culture industry and banana growers in India  [2011]

Selvarajan, R. Balasubramanian, V. Sheeba, M.M. Mohan, R. Raj et al.

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Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are the most important fruit crop in India and play a major role in the livelihood of millions of resource-poor small farmers. Use of quality planting material is very important for increasing productivity. Though conventional suckers are still the primary planting material, use of tissue-culture plants has increased because of their advantages, like more uniform bunches with even maturity and increased yield. However, banana viral pathogens, which are economically important in India, can be inadvertently spread through tissue-culture plants. In order to control the spread of the viruses, virus-indexing techniques were developed at the National Research Centre for Banana, Tiruchirapalli for early detection in mother plants and tissue-culture plants used for mass propagation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), non-radioactive probe-based nucleic acid spot hybridisation (NASH) and enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay (ELISA) based techniques were developed and validated for routine testing. PCR and NASH tests are being done for detection of Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) and Banana streak Mysore virus (BSMysV). RT-PCR and ELISA tests are being done for the detection of Banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Based on the work done at the centre, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, has accredited the Molecular Virology lab for testing for banana
viruses in the country. In total, 15,850 tissue-culture and mother-plant samples were tested against viruses. The percentage of positive plants for BBTV, BSMysV, CMV and BBrMV were 3.83, 2.85, 17.3 and 0.95% respectively. Indexing was done mostly for the cultivars ‘Grande Naine’ (AAA, Cavendish subgroup), ‘Robusta’ (AAA, Cavendish subgroup) and ‘Hill Banana’ (syn. ‘Virupakshi’, AAB, Pome subgroup). Around 25 tissue-culture banana commercial laboratories are undertaking the services of virus testing. Our laboratory has also developed polyclonal antisera for CMV and BBrMV through recombinant DNA technology, which is currently being validated for ELISA-based testing.

From the journal

Acta horticulturae

ISSN : 0567-7572