01.10.2021 (www.nst.com.my) - KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has identified an efficient treatment for oil palm trees infected with Ganoderma, the fungus that causes upper stem rot.
The technology, which uses the developed systemic hexaconazole fungicide, is effective as the upper stem rot-infected palms can successfully recover from the disease.
The technology reduces the rate of infection by killing the Ganoderma fungus in oil palm trees.
MPOB director-general Dr Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir said the increase in upper stem rot disease attacks had prompted MPOB researchers to study control measures immediately.
"The use of hexaconazole fungicide is recommended to reduce the onset of the upper stem rot disease," he said in a statement today.
Due to the increase in upper stem rot disease attacks, a group of researchers from MPOB have developed a technology to control the disease, which was launched at the MPOB Transfer of Technology Seminar and Exhibition (TOT) 2021, held virtually last July.
In using the technology, it is recommended to dissolve hexaconazole (4.5-gram active ingredient) in three litres of water and applied it three times at six-month interval.
The trunk injection is carried out using pressure injection apparatus.
Ganoderma fungus causes two main diseases on oil palm trees: basal stem rot and upper stem rot.
Dr Ahmad Parveez recommends hexaconazole fungicide as it is a curative treatment for upper stem rot-infected palms.
Hexaconazole can also extend the lifespan of diseased oil palm trees, he said.
"In addition, no residue of hexaconazole poison is found in palm oil, and it is safe for use," he added.
Dr Ahmad Parveez explained that the fungicide could also reduce the risk of spreading Ganoderma fungus in oil palm plantations, thus reducing the losses due to Ganoderma fungus attack.
Apart from using chemical fungicide, both upper and basal stem rot diseases can be controlled with sanitation or destruction of Ganoderma inoculum sources, using biological agents such as endophytic or soil microorganisms, degrader and resistance oil palm materials.
The Ganoderma disease has affected 221,000 hectares of oil palm estates in Malaysia with an estimated loss of approximately RM1.5 billion per annum.