Black Sigatoka, known as black leaf streak, a disease caused by Mycosphaerella fijiensis Morelet, and considered the most destructive and costly disease in banana production, leads to the use of up to 70 synthetic fungicide sprays per year. Fortunately, today there are alternative, innovative and sustainable products to control a devastating disease that can destroy an entire plantation.
 
"There is a huge concern in various banana-producing countries, on the internet or the news, expressing fears that plaintain / banana is threatened with extinction."
 
However, there exists a solution, which besides being natural, can control Black Sigatoka. Over the past 10 years, the Stockton Company, through various R & D studies, as well as field trials, has proven that the curative and preventive activity of the biofungicide Timorex Gold® has shown outstanding efficacy in the control of this disease, and through its multiple mechanisms, controls Black Sigatoka with great efficiency even under the most intense disease pressure conditions.
 

Timorex Gold® is a contact biofungicide based on Melaleuca alternifolia plant extract. Thanks to its multiple components, it controls a broad spectrum of fungal and bacterial disease in various crops, including rice, bananas, berries, coffee, cocoa, fruit, herbs, and vines, besides being an eco-friendly and residue-free product.
 
Timorex Gold® is a product widely used by banana growers to control Black Sigatoka (Mycosphaerella fijiensis) in several banana producing countries. Its use has spread for more than a decade in some of these countries. Currently, the product is registered in more than 30 countries, including the U.S.A, where it has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and classified by FRAC in the F7 Group, Code 46. No risk of inducing resistance has been reported, making it an excellent tool for managing resistance to Black Sigatoka.
 
Timorex Gold® has the ability to inhibit expansion of lesions on foliage and fruit. Given its lipophilic properties, it is able to penetrate through the cuticle barrier to the mesophyll, enabling prevention or inhibition of fungal development in the tissue. Timorex Gold’s preventive and curative activity converts it into a biofungicide with an innovative idea for the effective and sustainable control of various diseases over time.
 
Investment in research

The Stockton Company (STK) compass always points towards research and development. Its initial focus was to test the effectiveness of Timorex Gold® in controlling Black Sigatoka. Prof. Moshe Reuveni has received his doctorate in Plant Pathology from the Department of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University in Israel in 1982, and works hard at the task of understanding the different mechanisms of antifungal activity Melaleuca alternifolia extract exerts over Mycosphaerella fijiensis.

Professor Reuveni has dedicated his life to investigating the activity of Melaleuca alternifolia extract and has written several research papers, presented at numerous conferences, on Timorex Gold’s unique mode of action of that may explain the exceptional healing mechanism controlling Black Sigatoka in bananas.
 
In 2011, the Stockton Company and Prof. Reuveni with a team of researchers from the University of Costa Rica and Gainesville in Florida, together with the Experimental Station of Monreri in Costa Rica, studied Timorex Gold’s healing mode of action on Black Sigatoka. Under high-resolution electron microscopy, sections of leaves infected with the Black Sigatoka disease were observed, revealing that Timorex Gold® disrupted the cellular membrane causing a breakdown of fungi cell walls, displaying high effectiveness in controlling Black Sigatoka.

From 2008 to 2009 in Belize, in a commercial area of 134 hectares, bananas were treated with the Timorex Gold® biofungicide, increasing the harvest of healthy leave production by 1 kg per cluster, with good control over Black Sigatoka.

"I have no doubts that our biofungicide Timorex Gold® is an effective tool in the fight against Black Sigatoka," explained Guy Elitzur, President of Stockton (STK). “I cannot imagine how costly the disease Black Sigatoka is for banana growers, and how it could reach hundreds of millions of dollars! This is a huge amount of money to try to control this devastating disease, and above all, the vast amount of chemical load that may affect the surrounding community and the worker."
 
Timorex Gold® is an excellent tool for resistance management, and its use is widely adopted in traditional and organic agriculture. Timorex Gold® is an essential tool that may be included in a rotation program to prevent development of cross - resistance during the season.

By incorporating Timorex Gold® regularly in any disease management program, the biofungicide is able to reduce the chemical load, and harmful residue levels in the plant. Timorex Gold® leaves no residue in soil, water, or in the air. It is harmless to beneficial insects and bees, is safe for human surroundings and the environment.