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Protecting Banana Plants from Fusarium: A Treatment Solution

banana plantation

Learn how Filtersafe is protecting the livelihood of millions of people and providing food security.

What is Fusarium Wilt

banana plantationBananas are a hugely important crop – 400 million people worldwide rely on bananas for a significant portion of their daily calories or as their source of income. This is why the fungus fusarium can have such tragic results if it makes its way to a banana field – once a field is infected, the entirety of the crop is damaged and essentially the field can never be reused because the disease can stay in the soil for as long as 50 years. The damage is so thorough and pervasive that it has been used to destroy drug crops in Colombia, as it not only kills the crop, but stays in the soil and prevents replanting for years.

Fusarium can be found naturally occurring in soils worldwide – from tropical rainforest to deserts to arctic tundra. The fungus causes the disease Fusarium wilt, also known as Panama disease. Despite its ubiquitous nature, the pathogen is only problematic when it makes its way to farms. This is what happened in the 1950s, when Fusarium contaminated banana farms in Central America, causing the Gros Michel species of banana to almost go extinct.

Though the damage is most severe for banana plants, fusarium can also cause damage to tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes and others. The spread of Fusarium wilt disease has been felt most acutely by farmers in South East Asia, where the majority of the farms that have been impacted by the disease have been destroyed.

The Solution for Fusarium

 filtersafe installation to prevent fusariumUnlike other soil-dwelling fungi, Fusarium can’t be killed through fumigation methods, so farmers must look to other, innovative ways to protect their crops. Filtersafe, in combination with Bloom Agro, have developed a solution. In addition to occurring in the soil, fusarium can be introduced to farms through irrigation water. Since farmers in this area often divert river water to use for watering their crops, the otherwise free and plentiful water can be problematic if it isn’t properly treated before being used for irrigation. Filtersafe filters out suspended solids down to 25 microns, removing soil particles that could be harboring the disease and detritus that could impede the sterilization process. After the mechanical filtration to remove problematic organic material and other suspended solids, the filtered water goes on to be further disinfected by the Bloom Agro system.

The entire disinfection process is completed in just four steps:

  1. Prefiltration of water from source: The farmer can be using a reservoir, irrigation canal, or water directly from a river. In this step large particles and organic matter are prevented from entering the system.
  2. Mechanical filtration: Here, Filtersafe’s filter does its work, removing 98% of all substances in the water.
  3. Disinfection: The water is now treated by Bloom Agros’ special process.
  4. Contact time: Next, the water sits in a reservoir for a prescribed length of time, allowing the disinfection process to reach all organic material in the water, including the Fusarium, and rendering it inactive.

fusatrium treatment systemThe systems have already been installed in over 30 locations throughout the Philippines, successfully protecting crops and farmers. Even though there is a prefiltration step, there is still a large amount of total suspended solids (TSS) remaining in the water. The TSS is dangerous for most filters, since they cannot handle high dirt loads while filtering to such a fine degree. However, Filtersafe has engineered the only filter on the market that can safely filter incredibly ‘dirty’ water without clogging.

Multinational corporations also turn to filtration solutions to protect their industrial farms. Companies including La Frutera, Dole and Delmonte have all used our mechanical filtration to reduce the threat of fusarium to their fields and protect bananas for small farmers and consumers like you worldwide.

Product Specifications At A Glance

  • Product: Single/Compact & Multi Filters, From 3” up to 24”,
  • Filtration Degree: 25 μm
  • Flow Rate: From 60 m³/h to 1600 m³/h
  • Installation Date: 2016-2020

Benefits to Customer

  • Superb cleaning efficiency with minimal downtime using patented technology and screen design
  • Low power consumption (2 bar inlet pressure)
  • Low discharge of backwash wastewater
  • Smaller footprint compared to conventional filters

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