The disease is caused by a lethal soilborne fungal pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.cubense
Pathogen categorised into 4 races based on the cultivar they attack.
- Race 1 attacks Gros Michel and Silk (Apple,Bumpy, Chinese, Thousand Fingers)
- Race 2 attacks Bluggoe and Bodles Altafort, Highgate (Jamaican tetraploid)
- Race 3 attacks Heliconia
- Race 4 : attacks all varieties in Race 1 and 2 and all commercial varieties (Cavendish) and plantains