Study of the events prior to the appearance of spear rot symptoms

In the research to find the causes and factors associated with the appearance and development of spear rot (or pudrición de cogollo - PC) in oil palm, work has been done to document the events prior to the appearance of the so-called first symptoms of the disorder (limited yellowing of some of the leaflets on some of the younger leaves with or without spear leaf rot). Among other things, it has been found that the root system (particularly the fine roots) is less abundant and deteriorated, and that some parameters of aerial growth (e.g. rachis length and the petiole cross section measurement) decrease prior to the appearance of the other early symptoms. This type of behavior clearly indicates that there is a predisposition (stress) to the appearance and development of the dramatic symptoms that characterize spear rot in tropical America. This research has been published in the latest issues of the ASD Oil Palm Papers.

In addition to the plant’s morphological aspects, this work would not be complete unless the physiology of the plant is also studied prior to and contemporary with the events triggering the symptoms. This investigation is currently in progress.