Market access of Papua New Guinea bananas (Musa spp.) with particular respect to banana fly (Bactrocera musae (Tryon)) (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Mararuai, Amanda N. (2010) Market access of Papua New Guinea bananas (Musa spp.) with particular respect to banana fly (Bactrocera musae (Tryon)) (Diptera: Tephritidae). PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


International market access for fresh commodities is regulated by international accepted phytosanitary guidelines, the objectives of which are to reduce the biosecurity risk of plant pest and disease movement. Papua New Guinea (PNG) has identified banana as a potential export crop and to help meet international market access requirements, this thesis provides information for the development of a pest risk analysis (PRA) for PNG banana fruit. The PRA is a three step process which first identifies the pests associated with a particular commodity or pathway, then assesses the risk associated with those pests, and finally identifies risk management options for those pests if required. As the first step of the PRA process, I collated a definitive list on the organisms associated with the banana plant in PNG using formal literature, structured interviews with local experts, grey literature and unpublished file material held in PNG field research stations. I identified 112 organisms (invertebrates, vertebrate, pathogens and weeds) associated with banana in PNG, but only 14 of these were reported as commonly requiring management. For these 14 I present detailed information summaries on their known biology and pest impact.
A major finding of the review was that of the 14 identified key pests, some research information occurs for 13. The single exception for which information was found to be lacking was Bactrocera musae (Tryon), the banana fly. The lack of information for this widely reported ‘major pest on PNG bananas’ would hinder the development of a PNG banana fruit PRA. For this reason the remainder of the thesis focused on this organism, particularly with respect to generation of information required by the PRA process. Utilising an existing, but previously unanalysed fruit fly trapping database for PNG, I carried out a Geographic Information System analysis of the distribution and abundance of banana in four major regions of PNG. This information is required for a PRA to determine if banana fruit grown in different parts of the country are at different risks from the fly. Results showed that the fly was widespread in all cropping regions and that temperature and rainfall were not significantly correlated with banana fly abundance. Abundance of the fly was significantly correlated (albeit weakly) with host availability. The same analysis was done with four other PNG pest fruit flies and their responses to the environmental factors differed to banana fly and each other. This implies that subsequent PRA analyses for other PNG fresh commodities will need to investigate the risk of each of these flies independently. To quantify the damage to banana fruit caused by banana fly in PNG, local surveys and one national survey of banana fruit infestation were carried out. Contrary to expectations, infestation was found to be very low, particularly in the widely grown commercial cultivar, Cavendish. Infestation of Cavendish fingers was only 0.41% in a structured, national survey of over 2 700 banana fingers. Follow up laboratory studies showed that fingers of Cavendish, and another commercial variety Lady-finger, are very poor hosts for B. musae, with very low host selection rates by female flies and very poor immature survival.
An analysis of a recent (within last decade) incursion of B. musae into the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain Province, PNG, provided the final set of B. musae data. Surveys of the fly on the peninsular showed that establishment and spread of the fly in the novel environment was very rapid and thus the fly should be regarded as being of high biosecurity concern, at least in tropical areas. Supporting the earlier impact studies, however, banana fly has not become a significant banana fruit problem on the Gazelle, despite bananas being the primary starch staple of the region.
The results of the research chapters are combined in the final Discussion in the form of a B. musae focused PRA for PNG banana fruit. Putting the thesis in a broader context, the Discussion also deals with the apparent discrepancy between high local abundance of banana fly and very low infestation rates. This discussion focuses on host utilisation patterns of specialist herbivores and suggests that local pest abundance, as determined by trapping or monitoring, need not be good surrogate for crop damage, despite this linkage being implicit in a number of international phytosanitary protocols.

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ID Code: 33229
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Clarke, Anthony & Hamilton, Grant
Keywords: Bactrocera musae, banana fly, bananas, biosecurity, host availability, invasion biology, invasive, market access, Musa spp., novel environment, Papua New Guinea, pest risk analysis, population distribution
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2010 06:27
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:56

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