Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
Cocopest - Information portal for major pests and diseases of coconut
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  (Bogia Coconut Syndrome)
Coconut palms in Madang province affected by Bogia Syndrome (Source: KIK)
General information
Bogia Coconut Syndrome (BSC) was reported in the Bogia district (Madang province) in 2008. Hence its name; Bogia Coconut Syndrome. The disease was recorded both in old and newly planted palms. Since its first identification, the BCS has caused major losses in coconuts in Madang province and expanded through years, even though it is still confined in the province. BCS is estimated to kill 1-2 coconut palms/month [9]. BCS has killed approximately 197,000 palms in the last 10 years [9]. The disease remains unchallenged and many plantations have been abandoned. The banana and betel are also infected with BSC.

The main mode of transmission is through insect vector i.e. the phloem-inhabiting phytoplasmas [12]. These type of phytoplasmas are transmitted by phloem-feeding hemipteran insects; leafhopper and planthopper species are the primary vectors [10]. The research interest has centred on Zophiuma pupillata (Hemiptera: Lophopidae) as this insect breeds on coconuts. even though the actual vector is yet to be confirmed.

The coconut palms showed progression of Lethal Yellowing-like symptoms with leaf yellowing, premature nut fall, frond collapse and eventually palm death [8].

According to KIK, the symptoms can be divided into different stages as follows:

  • Stage 1 - older leaflets turn yellow (or senescing) started drooping
  • Stage 2 - About 50% of a palm’s mature fronds turn yellow and become dry, (ii) Green nuts fall prematurely
  • Stage 3 – The infected palm’s crown canopy reduced and dried, but the empty fruit bunches are still attached to the trunk
  • Stage 4 – (i) There are more dead fronds and rotting spears but still attached to the trunk, (ii) Palms with fallen off crowns

Infected palm with almost half of the mature fronds turning yellow (Source: KIK)

Palms with dead dried fronds (Source: KIK)

Detection and Inspection
Observe for palms with drooping outer leaves, yellowing fronds, premature nutfalls and drastic death (approximately within 3 months). Conduct molecular characterization to confirm pathogenicity.
Taxonomic information
Category - Bacteria
Common Name - Bogia Coconut Syndrome
Papua New Guinea
Prevention and Control
Stringent Quarantine

Some steps to contain the damage caused by BSC [9]:

  • Phytosanitary measures – Removal of diseased palms
  • Restrict movement of planting materials within and out of Madang province
  • Development of Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) strategies
  • Declaration of Madang as BCS quarantine area
  • Inspections at seaport and airport
  • Creating awareness on BCS
  1. [8] Kembu, A., Yasinge, W., Bangulas, N. and Tenakanai, D., 2009. Delimiting Survey of an infectious Coconut Syndrome in Bogia District of Madang Province: A Preliminary Report, s.l.: Kokonas Indastri Koporasen.
  2. [9] Kokonas Indastri Koporasen (KIK), 2019. Bogia Coconut Syndrome briefing, November 2019.
  3. Gurr, G. (2017). Bogia Coconut Syndrome in Papua New Guinea and related phytoplasma syndromes: developing biological knowledge and a risk management strategy. ACIAR factsheet: HORT-2012-087.
  4. Kelly, P.L., Reeder, R., Kokoa, P., Arocha, Y., Nixon, T. and Fox, A., 2011. First report of a phytoplasma identified in coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) with lethal yellowing-like symptoms in Papua New Guinea. New Disease Reports, 23: Article 9.
  5. Miyazaki, A., Shigaki, T., Koinuma, H., Iwabuchi, N., Rauka, G.B., Kembu, A., Saul, J., Watanabe, K., Nijo, T., Maejima, K., Yamaji, Y. and Namba, S., 2018. ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma noviguineense’, a novel taxon associated with Bogia coconut syndrome and banana wilt disease on the island of New Guinea. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 68:170-175.
  6. (12) Pilotti, C.A., Dewhurst, C.F., Liefting, L.W., Kuniata, L. and Kakul, T., 2014. Putative Vectors of a Phytoplasma Associated with Coconut (Cocos nucifera) in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 4(5): 365-372.
  7. 10) Lu, H., Wilson, B.A.L., Ash, G.J., Woruba, S.B., Fletcher, M.J., You, M., Yang, G. and Gurr G.M., 2016. Determining putative vectors of the Bogia Coconut Syndrome phytoplasma using loop-mediated isothermal amplification of single-insect feeding media. Scientific Reports 6:35801.
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