Journal Article

The BananaTainer: a high throughput phenotyping installation to explore Musa's growth potential in the east African highlands

The East African highlands, a densely populated area in the African Great Lakes region, are located at high altitudes (900-2000 m a.s.l.) and characterized by relatively low average temperatures (17-25°C). Banana (Musa spp.) is an important component of its production landscape, contributing in Uganda to up to 80% of the caloric intake. However, above 1500 m a.s.l. the relatively low ambient temperatures slow down the production and the on-farm diversity decreases. Although enhanced on-farm diversity has been proposed to increase production, little is known on the cultivar-specific agronomic requirements. High-throughput phenotyping installations with a tight climatic control, are essential to allow fast and early ex situ screening of the diversity with high experimental reproducibility. In this study, we introduce the BananaTainer as a suitable high-throughput, pre-field phenotyping installation i) to simulate East African highland weather conditions and ii) to evaluate differences in Musa’s low temperature responses.