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Science & Technology

Bananas may be at risk of going extinct

July 8, 2018 | Comment icon 8 comments



The race is now on to develop a more resilient variety of Cavendish. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Paasikivi
A particularly virulent disease is threatening to completely wipe out one of the world's favorite fruits.
With their appealing sweet taste and distinctive curved yellow shape, bananas are among the most popular fruits on Earth with more than 100 billion of them being consumed worldwide each year.

This could soon be set to change however as a disease known as 'fusarium wilt' has been ravaging crops in Australia and south-east Asia as well as in parts of Africa and the Middle-East.

If the disease should make its way to Latin America - the country from which the majority of bananas are exported - then it could spell doom for the humble banana as a sustainable food crop.
Something like this happened before when a tastier variety of banana was wiped out in the 1950s and replaced with the more resilient Cavendish which now accounts for 99.99% of bananas sold globally.

The race is now on to develop a more resilient variety of Cavendish that is immune to the disease.

"If you look at the broader consumption on top of exports, the banana industry is worth a massive $30bn a year," said Gilad Gershon, CEO of Norwich-based startup Tropic Biosciences.

"However, people have been getting increasingly worried because the plant is heavily cloned so if you have a disease that can kill one tree, it can potentially wipe out the entire industry."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Ozfactor 4 years ago
Wouldn't it be dreadful if banana's were wiped out and all we had was banana lollies . 
Comment icon #2 Posted by UFOwatcher 4 years ago
Love bananananas but isn't that picture upside down?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Astral Hillbilly 4 years ago
No. That's the way bananas grow. The plant always reaches for the sun.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Calibeliever 4 years ago
Lack of genetic diversity. Didn't that contribute heavily to the potato blight in the 1840's also? It's a nice luxury to have access to bananas in this part of the world and t would suck if they disappeared. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
The biggest problem is : ''Cavendish which now accounts for 99.99% of bananas sold globally'' Yes a disease can destroy big monoculture of one cultivar but a lot of differents cultivar exist. Eaten some Gros Michel bananas two years ago, it was the cultivar that got wiped out in monoculture in the fifties. The variety is still growing and used in latin america but not in giant industrial field. It was replaced by the Cavendish brand in monoculture to lay the table for another devastation. When you put all the eggs in the same basket the story just repeat itself. Lame. The industry can suffer b... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Nzo 4 years ago
This story comes out like clockwork ever few years. Supposedly bananas have been going extinct for decades now.
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
Just think of all of the hungry chimps and other apes.  Their favorite food - GONE!  Banana must be saved!  What? We can't genetically help the bananas?  GMO's are bad for us?  But it's bananas!  Great source of potassium and other stuff.
Comment icon #8 Posted by UFOwatcher 4 years ago
After researching more I see I was wrong about the picture upside down. The picture is correct, I was wrong.


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