Bananas Threatened By Deadly Fungus

Bananas Threatened By Deadly Fungus

Posted: Updated:

August 23, 2019

There is growing concern that America's most popular fresh fruit could be threatened. A deadly fungus that has been ravaging banana farms in southeast Asia has recently been reported in Latin America. On August 8, the Colombia Agricultural Institute confirmed that a strain of the Fusarium oxysporum fungus (also called Tropical Race 4) had been detected, prompting a state of emergency in which farmers have been instructed to quarantine plantations and destroy trees in areas where the fungus has been found. And, as alarmist as it sounds, extinction is a very real possibility.

As helpfully explained elsewhere, banana trees are especially susceptible to disease. This is because virtually all commercially grown bananas are of the Cavendish variety, and come from trees which are all clones from the same orignal stock. Any serious disease, such as the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) strain of the Panama Disease fungus that is currently wreaking havoc on the trees, has the potential to rapidly spread across the entire population due to the lack of genetic resistance.

The good news is that the industry has seen this coming for a while, and this isn't, in fact, the first time the banana has faced near extinction and survived. It took billions of dollars of research, development, and infrastructure changes, but the Cavendish variety itself was brought online for wide-scale cultivation only about 50 years ago due to a similar crisis which wiped out its predecessor, the Gros Michel (aka "Big Mike").

According to 2016 numbers from USDA, the U.S. populations consumes 27.55 pounds of bananas per capita each year, making it by far the most popular fresh fruit: apples com in a distant second at 18.55 pounds per capita; oranges, third place, are consumed at a rate of 9.17 pounds per capita.

(Source: New York Post)

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Survey: 8,000 turtle nests washed out by Dorian in Florida

    Survey: 8,000 turtle nests washed out by Dorian in Florida

    Friday, September 20 2019 5:58 PM EDT2019-09-20 21:58:17 GMT
    MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Scientists say Hurricane Dorian washed out to sea more than 8,000 sea turtle nests from a Florida wildlife refuge. The University of Central Florida said Friday that a recent survey conducted at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach shows the storm that brushed Florida’s east coast earlier this month washed away 45% of green turtle nests. Researchers say other turtle species dodged a bullet because the peak of their seas...
    MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Scientists say Hurricane Dorian washed out to sea more than 8,000 sea turtle nests from a Florida wildlife refuge. The University of Central Florida said Friday that a recent survey conducted at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach shows the storm that brushed Florida’s east coast earlier this month washed away 45% of green turtle nests. Researchers say other turtle species dodged a bullet because the peak of their seas...
  • Nurses, auto strikes may be signs of awakening US unions

    Nurses, auto strikes may be signs of awakening US unions

    Friday, September 20 2019 5:17 PM EDT2019-09-20 21:17:27 GMT

    HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — Registered nurses staged a one-day strike against Tenet Health hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona on Friday, demanding better working conditions and higher wages as the nation’s labor movement has begun flexing muscles weakened by decades of declining membership amid business and government attacks.

    HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — Registered nurses staged a one-day strike against Tenet Health hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona on Friday, demanding better working conditions and higher wages as the nation’s labor movement has begun flexing muscles weakened by decades of declining membership amid business and government attacks.

  • 5 Must Have Smartphone Apps For The Farm

    5 Must Have Smartphone Apps For The Farm

    Friday, September 20 2019 4:08 PM EDT2019-09-20 20:08:59 GMT

    Smartphones are an essential part of everyday life and life on the farm is no exception. AgWeb recently put together a list of essential farm phone apps that will make your day-to-day a breeze. From keeping tabs on employees to organizing your to-dos, read on to see 5 must-have apps for the farm. 

    Smartphones are an essential part of everyday life and life on the farm is no exception. AgWeb recently put together a list of essential farm phone apps that will make your day-to-day a breeze. From keeping tabs on employees to organizing your to-dos, read on to see 5 must-have apps for the farm. 

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 Frankly and RFDTV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service , and Ad Choices .