Exploring the Complexity of Basal Stem Rot Disease in Palm Oil Plantations: Beyond Ganoderma

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Illustration of ganoderma mold attack. Photo by: Special

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – The onset of basal stem rot disease poses a significant threat to the productivity, output, and overall growth of palm oil plantations. This ailment, caused by various pathogens, particularly fungi falling under the mushroom category, presents a multifaceted challenge.

Among these pathogens, Ganoderma stands out as a primary culprit. However, it’s crucial to note that multiple strains of Ganoderma, including Ganoderma cocoicola and Ganoderma zonatum, contribute to the affliction. Cico Jhon Karunia Simamora from the Faculty of Agriculture at Universitas Tanjungpura emphasizes that the pathogen not only affects the stem but also extends its reach to the upper regions of the palm oil tree, spreading from the bunch to higher segments.

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While Ganoderma often shoulders the blame for basal stem rot disease, empirical evidence suggests the involvement of numerous other pathogens capable of instigating similar symptoms. This underscores the necessity for a comprehensive understanding of the diverse range of pathogens implicated in the disease’s progression.

Also Read: Preparing for a Potential Ganoderma Attack

There are many mechanisms about the spread of the disease, such as, through spore. It is a small microscopic particle that spreads through air or land. “Besides, there are propagules which is the strong structure made by the pathogen. It can be seen in infected wood tissue. Propagules can survive in land for some years and be the source of disease spread,” Cico said in an event that Gabungan Pelaku dan Pemerhati Sistem Integrasi Sapi-Kelapa Sawit (Gapensiska) that Palmoilmagazine.com attended in January 2024 in Pontianak.

The spore – like pathogen structures also play its roles to spread the disease. Pathogen spore like in Ganoderma, has strong/thick wall made of many materials, such as, hemicellulose and phenol. The structures enable spore to survive in land for many years even until there is replanting.

It is important to understand about the structures and mechanism of pathogen spread to control basal stem rot disease. It also needs further study to develop more effective strategy control to protect palm oil trees from the attack.

Besides, the good agricultural practices would help to minimize the spread of such disease, including how to manage animals’ feces, good sanitation in palm oil plantations. By having better understanding about the spread and mechanism spread of the disease, it is hoped to get more effective ways to protect palm oil plantations and industries. (T2)

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