Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Sustainability of banana-based agroecosystems affected by Xanthomonas wilt disease of banana
Ocimati, Walter - \ 2019
Wageningen University. Promotor(en): P. Tittonell, co-promotor(en): J.C.J. Groot. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463952026 - 234
Banana leaf pruning to facilitate annual legume intercropping as an intensification strategy in the East African highlands
Ocimati, W. ; Ntamwira, J. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Taulya, G. ; Tittonell, P. ; Dhed'a, B. ; Asten, P. van; Vanlauwe, B. ; Ruhigwa, B. ; Blomme, G. - \ 2019
European Journal of Agronomy 110 (2019). - ISSN 1161-0301
Banana - Intercrop - Leaf pruning - Legume - LER - Revenue

Banana leaf pruning is a common practice to facilitate intercropping with legumes on farmers’ fields. It is however not clear if this practice improves farmers land-use and economic efficiency, especially after full canopy formation. To analyze pruning effects, three legumes viz. bush bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L), climbing bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L) and soybean (Glycine max), were planted under three banana leaf pruning levels in which four, seven and all fully grown leaves were retained. Sole banana or legume plots served as controls. Each treatment combination was replicated three times. Banana growth and yield attributes were measured for the plant and first ratoon crops while legume biomass and yields determined over five consecutive cropping seasons. Significant (P < 0.001) reductions in banana growth and yield were associated with leaf pruning. Banana yield reductions of 31% and 10% for the four- and seven-leaf retention treatments, respectively occurred. The vigorous intercrops (climbing beans and soybeans) more often depressed the growth and yield of banana. Legume grain and biomass yields increased with leaf pruning levels. Weed biomass and associated management costs increased with decline in shade intensity. The land-use efficiency measured using the land equivalence ratio (LER) was far lower in the treatment with four-leaves (1.10) compared to when all leaves were retained (1.4) but higher (1.54) for the seven-leaf treatment. Severe banana leaf pruning could thus be detrimental to banana performance and inefficient. Moderate banana leaf pruning could however be promoted were land is limiting and farmers want to maximize diversity/nutrition. However, the highest values for gross revenue and benefit-cost ratio were realized for sole banana-all-leaf retention treatment due to a higher labor productivity and lower input costs attributed to the perennial nature of banana. The higher economic efficiency in sole banana plots suggests that reliance on LER only may be insufficient for guiding intercropping decisions.

The risk posed by Xanthomonas wilt disease of banana : Mapping of disease hotspots, fronts and vulnerable landscapes
Ocimati, Walter ; Bouwmeester, Hein ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Tittonell, Pablo ; Brown, David ; Blomme, Guy - \ 2019
PLoS ONE 14 (2019)4. - ISSN 1932-6203

Banana production landscapes in the African Great Lakes Region (AGLR) have been under immense pressure from Xanthomonas wilt (XW) disease over the past two decades. XW, first reported on banana in central Uganda and eastern DR Congo in 2001, has since spread to the entire AGLR. XW is currently spreading westwards from hot spots in eastern DR Congo highlands, putting the plantain (Musa AAB genome) belt of central and west Africa at risk. In-depth understanding of the key variables responsible for disease spread, current hotspots, and vulnerable landscapes is crucial for disease early warning and management. We mapped aggregated disease distribution and hotspots in the AGLR and identified vulnerable landscapes across African banana production zones. Available data on disease prevalence collected over 11 years was regressed against environmental and expert developed covariates to develop the AGLR XW hotspots map. For the Africa-wide risk map, precipitation, distance to hotspots, degree of trade in fresh banana products, production zone interconnectedness and banana genotype composition were used as covariates. In the AGLR, XW was mainly correlated to precipitation and disease/banana management. Altitude and temperature had unexpectedly low effects, possibly due to an overriding impact of tool-mediated spread which is part of the management covariate. In the AGLR, the eastern part of DR Congo was a large hotspot with highest vulnerability. Apart from endemic zones in the AGLR and Ethiopia, northern Mozambique was perceived as a moderate risk zone mainly due to the predominance of ‘Bluggoe’ (Musa ABB type) which is highly susceptible to insect-vectored transmission. Presence of XW hotspots (e.g. eastern DR Congo) and vulnerable areas with low (e.g. north-western Tanzania) or no disease (e.g. Congo basin, western DR Congo and northern Mozambique) pressure suggest key areas where proactive measures e.g. quarantines and information sharing on XW diagnosis, epidemiology, and control could be beneficial.

Risks posed by intercrops and weeds as alternative hosts to xanthomonas campestris pv. Musacearum in Banana Fields
Ocimati, Walter ; Were, Evans ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Tittonell, Pablo ; Nakato, Gloria Valentine ; Blomme, Guy - \ 2018
Frontiers in Plant Science 9 (2018). - ISSN 1664-462X
Alternative host - Banana - Cannaspp - Maize - Millet - Sorghum - Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum - Xanthomonas wilt

Alternative host plants are important in the survival and perpetuation of several crop pathogens and have been suspected to play a role in the survival of Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm) and perpetuation of Xanthomonas wilt (XW) disease of banana and enset. This study determined the potential risk posed by two weeds (Canna spp. and wild sorghum) and common banana intercrops (maize, millet, sorghum, taro, and sugarcane) as alternative hosts to Xcm. The study employed screenhouse experiments, laboratory procedures and diagnosis of banana fields in XW-affected landscapes. Typical XW symptoms were only observed in artificially inoculated Canna sp., with an incidence of 96%. Leaf lesions characteristic of xanthomonads occurred on millet (50%) and sorghum (35%), though the plants recovered. No symptoms occurred in maize, sugarcane, taro or wild sorghum. However, Xcm was recovered from all these plant species, with higher recoveries in Canna sp. (47%), millet (27%), sugarcane (27%), and wild sorghum (25%). Only isolates recovered from Canna sp., millet, sorghum and wild sorghum caused disease in banana plantlets. The presence and incidence of XW on-farm was positively associated with the presence of susceptible ABB Musa genotypes and negatively with number of banana cultivars on farm and household access to training on XW management. Only 0.02% of field sampled Canna spp. plants had Xcm. Risk posed by Canna spp. on-farm could be limited to tool transmission as it has persistent floral bracts that prevent insect-mediated infections. Given the high susceptibility, perennial nature and propagation through rhizomes of Canna sp., it could pose a moderate-high risk, thus warranting some attention in the management of XW disease. Sugarcane could offer a low-moderate risk due to its perennial nature and propagation through rhizomes while risk from maize, millet, and sorghum was deemed zero-low due to their annual nature, wind-mediated mode of pollination and propagation through seed. Understanding the interactions of a crop pathogen with other plants is thus important when diversifying agroecosystems. The study findings also suggest other factors such as cultivar composition and management of the disease at farm and landscape level to be important in the perpetuation of XW disease.

Agroecological integration of shade- and drought-tolerant food/feed crops for year-round productivity in banana-based systems under rain-fed conditions in Central Africa
Blomme, G. ; Ocimati, W. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Ntamwira, J. ; Bahati, L. ; Kantungeko, D. ; Remans, R. ; Tittonell, P. - \ 2018
In: 10th International Symposium on Banana. - International Society for Horticultural Science (Acta Horticulturae ) - ISBN 9789462611924 - p. 41 - 54.
Intensification - Resilience - Small-scale farming - Year-round productivity - Yield gaps
Yield gaps in banana-based production systems have increased in the past two decades due to declining soil fertility, drought and biotic stresses. Sustainable, environmentally sound and economically viable strategies for intensification in these systems are urgently needed. Agroecological practices, such as the integration of shade- and drought-tolerant crops, nitrogen-fixing and cover crops could potentially improve soil fertility and moisture retention, reduce the weed burden, narrow yield gaps and increase overall plot/farm productivity in these systems. In Malaysia, leguminous crops like Pueraria phaseoloides, Calopogonium caeruleum and Centrosema pubescens are often cultivated as cover crops (to suppress weeds, and reduce moisture loss and soil erosion) in young rubber and oil palm plantations with low shade levels. Even in mature oil palm plantations with less than 30% light intensity, various shade-tolerant crops are grown, e.g., elephant foot yam, turmeric and arrow root. In humid tropical Africa, Colocasia (taro) and Xanthosoma (cocoyam) are reported to tolerate shade conditions and hence often planted under perennial banana/plantain plantations. Drought tolerance is a less common feature of most annual crops grown in the humid tropics. A few root and tuber crops (e.g., cassava, taro, yam and sweetpotato) remain in the field during the dry season in Central Africa and are then harvested according to household needs. This paper also reports on crops (Mucuna, lablab and chickpea) with potential for integration into banana-based systems during the dry season, if planted during the last month of the rainy season. These crops are reported to use the residual soil moisture content for continued growth during the dry season months. The paper concludes with detailed descriptions (from a literature review) on drought- and shade-tolerance characteristics of various crops which have long been integrated in Central African banana-based cropping systems, crops with a more recent cultivation history and crops with potential for system integration.
Effects of Xanthomonas wilt and other banana diseases on ecosystem services in banana-based agroecosystems
Ocimati, W. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Tittonell, P. ; Taulya, G. ; Blomme, G. - \ 2018
In: 10th International Symposium on Banana. - International Society for Horticultural Science (Acta Horticulturae ) - ISBN 9789462611924 - p. 19 - 32.
Drought tolerance - Landscape - Multiple functions - Provisioning - Regulatory - Shade tolerance - Supporting
Banana plantations are multifunctional agroecosystems that besides their main provisioning service also deliver a range of supporting, regulatory and cultural services that are largely unvalorized. Banana is perennial in nature with plantations as old as 50 years reported in the African Great Lakes region. Banana is cultivated in a wide range of agroecologies (from sea level to 2400 m a.s.l.) and cropping systems, where it contributes to various ecosystem services (ES). These include regulating soil erosion, water cycles and quality, and nutrient recycling. However, the outbreak of Xanthomonas wilt of banana (XW) along with some of its management practices, such as uprooting mats/entire fields, is devastating banana production and rendering landscapes bare and prone to degradation. Yet this process is also leading to diversification of agroecosystems in over 70% of farms in the African Great Lakes region with unknown but potentially positive consequences for resilience and adaptation, as well as for local diets. The sustainability of these alternative land-uses is variable. This study reviews the different services offered by banana plantations and the impacts, positive or negative, that XW-driven diversification may have on these services. It suggests the need to consider explicitly the consequences of pests and diseases for the full range of ES provided by the crop and an ES-broad framework for estimation of losses, and planning resources and strategies for disease management. The study also suggests strategies, such as incorporation of shade- and drought-tolerant cover crops, hedges and agroforestry trees, to augment the supply of key ES within XW-affected agroecosystems/landscapes.
Sustainable intensification: tailoring innovations to end-user context
Taulya, G. ; Attwood, S. ; Descheemaeker, K.K.E. ; Marinus, Wytze ; Braber, H. den; Ocimati, Walter ; Rietveld, A. ; Raineri, J. ; Quiroz, R. ; Remans, R. ; Schut, M. - \ 2017
Land use/cropping pattern changes in retrospect across Xanthomonas wilt-infected landscapes
Ocimati, Walter ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Ntmwira, J. ; Bahati, L. ; Tittonell, P.A. ; Taulya, G. ; Bumba, M. ; Amin, D. ; Blomme, G. - \ 2016
Effects of banana Xanthomonas wilt and other banana diseases on ecosystem services in banana based agroecosystems
Ocimati, Walter ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Tittonell, P.A. ; Blomme, G. - \ 2016
Agroecological integraton of shade tolerant and drought tolerant food/feed crops for year round productivity in banana based systems under rain-fed conditions
Blomme, G. ; Ocimati, Walter ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Ntmwira, J. ; Bahati, L. ; Remans, R. ; Tittonell, P.A. - \ 2016
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