Allometric growth relationships of East Africa highland bananas (Musa AAA-EAHB) cv. Kisansa and Mbwazirume

K. Nyombi, P.J.A. van Asten, P.A. Leffelaar, M. Corbeels, C.K. Kaizzi, K.E. Giller

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Highland bananas are an important staple food in East Africa, but there is little information on their physiology and growth patterns. This makes it difficult to identify opportunities for yield improvement. We studied allometric relationships by evaluating different phenological stages of highland banana growth for use in growth assessment, understanding banana crop physiology and yield prediction. Pared corms of uniform size (cv. Kisansa) were planted in a pest-free field in Kawanda (central Uganda), supplied with fertilizers and irrigated during dry periods. In addition, tissue-cultured plants (cv. Kisansa) were planted in an adjacent field and in Ntungamo (southwest Uganda), with various nutrient addition treatments (of N, P, K, Mg, S, Zn, B and Mo). Plant height, girth at base, number of functional leaves and phenological stages were monitored monthly. Destructive sampling allowed derivation of allometric relationships to describe leaf area and biomass distribution in plants throughout the growth cycle. Individual leaf area was estimated as LA (m2) = length (m) × maximum lamina width (m) × 0.68. Total plant leaf area (TLA) was estimated as the product of the measured middle leaf area (MLA) and the number of functional leaves. MLA was estimated as MLA (m2) = -0.404 + 0.381 height (m) + 0.411 girth (m). A light extinction coefficient (k = 0.7) was estimated from photosynthetically active radiation measurements in a 1.0 m grid over the entire day. The dominant dry matter (DM) sinks changed from leaves at 1118 °C days (47% of DM) and 1518 °C days (46% of DM), to the stem at 2125 °C days (43% of DM) and 3383 °C days (58% of DM), and finally to the bunch at harvest (4326 °C days) with 53% of DM. The allometric relationship between above-ground biomass (AGB in kg DM) and girth (cm) during the vegetative phase followed a power function, AGB = 0.0001 (girth)2.35 (R2 = 0.99), but followed exponential functions at flowering, AGB = 0.325 e0.036(girth) (R2 = 0.79) and at harvest, AGB = 0.069 e0.068(girth) (R2 = 0.96). Girth at flowering was a good parameter for predicting yields with R2 = 0.7 (cv. Mbwazirume) and R2 = 0.57 (cv. Kisansa) obtained between actual and predicted bunch weights. This article shows that allometric relationship can be derived and used to assess biomass production and for developing banana growth models, which can help breeders and agronomists to further exploit the crop's potential
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-418
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • leaf-area estimation
  • biomass accumulation
  • radiation
  • crop
  • light
  • interception
  • morphology
  • fertilizer
  • diameter
  • height


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