Progress in understanding Pseudocercospora banana pathogens and the development of resistant Musa germplasm

Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are important food crops in tropical and subtropical regions of the world where they generate millions of dollars annually to both subsistence farmers and exporters. Since 1902, Pseudocercospora banana pathogens, Pseudocercospora fijiensis, P. musae and P. eumusae, have emerged as major production constraints to banana and plantain. Despite concerted efforts to counter these pathogens, they have continued to negatively impact banana yield. In this review, the economic importance, distribution and the interactions between Pseudocercospora banana pathogens and Musa species are discussed. Interactions are further scrutinized in the light of an emerging climate change scenario and efforts towards the development of resistant banana germplasm are discussed. Finally, some of the opportunities and gaps in knowledge that could be exploited to further understanding of this ubiquitous pathosystem are highlighted.