Investigations on the causes of upper stem rot (USR) on standing mature oil palms
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Three different trials to examine the cause of upper stem rot (USR) infection in oil palm failed to achieve any infection. In the first experiment, inoculum was applied as colonised rubber wood blocks or as spore suspensions. In the second experiment, particular attention was given to ensure that the Ganoderma spores were freshly collected to maintain viability but no infection was observed around the inoculation sites of any of the different oil palm tissues treated. Lastly in the third experiment, both monokaryotic and dikaryotic mycelial cultures were applied directly to cut fronds, which were protected with a moist covering, but no infection was detected after more than two years. Failure to achieve infection by direct inoculation would indicate that USR does not arise from direct infection of living tissues by Ganoderma spores or mycelium, this is probably because of insufficient inoculum potential to cause infection. It is suggested that USR infection is achieved only when a sufficiently large source of inoculum has built up in dead material, probably in frond axils, and this allows invasion of the living tissues.
Keywordsdisease transmission Ganoderma mature palms oil palm upper stem rot
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