Choke Throat of Banana
Author: Dr Jai Prakash
Division of Fruits and Horticultural Technology
ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-12
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Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. Banana is a globally important fruit crop with 97.5 million tones of production. In India it supports livelihood of million of people. With total annual production of 29.72 million tones (39.8%) from 0.802 million ha, (13%) with national average of 37.4 t/ha (NHB, 2014). On the basis of the production Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are first five leading state and area wise Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the five major states. The area and production in northern part of the India particularly Uttar Pradesh have also increased significantly during last 10 years. A large number of growers are experiencing the low productivity and profitability due to choke throat of banana.
Choke throat is a physiological disorder of bananas and largely associated with the abiotic stresses. Choke throat observed when the bunch is about to emerge from the top of the pseudostem but becomes trapped at various stages of emergence and on its severity the bunch fails to emerge from the top of the pseudostem and instead bursts through the side of the plant. These bunches are not economical for the growers. At mild severe cases the top 1 or 2 hands become trapped in the throat of the plant leading to badly misshapen fruit and very often rejected in the wholesale market. Because the bunch is not 'thrown' clear of the throat it is both difficult to cover with bunch covers and more susceptible to sunburn damage. Bunches which experience difficulty in emergence usually have several leaves closely 'bunched' together at the top of the pseudostem. Northern part of India has major problems with choke throat than southern part of India.
Choke throat is seasonal in nature. It is usually worst in the winter and early spring following cold weather. The subtropical region of the India is worst affected with the choke problem in banana. However, it can also occur following periods of waterlogging or severe water stress. Two factors contribute to the actual difficulty in bunch emergence i.e. i) reduction in the elongation of internodes of the true stem bearing the bunch inside the pseudostem, ii) the stiffness of the leaf bases at the top of the pseudostem can prevent proper bunch emergence. The dwarf varieties are more susceptible to this disorder than others. Experiences revealed that Williams, Chini Champa and Mons Mari are far less susceptible than Dwarf Cavendish. The predominance of the tissue culture planting material in dwarf Cavendish also hastens the choke problem.
1. Select taller varieties, which are less susceptible to choke, throat e.g. Williams, Chini Champa.
2. A grower has to select the warm environment and free from frosts.
3. Manage time of bunching to avoid cold weather prior to bunching.
4. Proper drainage should be maintained in the orchard.
5. Propping of the banana pseudostem to reduce the effect of waterlogging.
6. Regular irrigation to avoid water stress particularly during hot-dry weather.
7. Higher applications of nitrogenous fertilizer are thought to be beneficial.
8. Apply growth promoting chemicals to counter the choke problem.
About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as a senior scientist at IARI New Delhi.