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Index – Science – Bananas can disappear from shelves forever

Another hit to Europe’s favorite banana and the world’s. It is not enough to destroy them since the 80s New Panama diseaseNow, another deadly enemy has launched a fierce attack, Sigatoka disease. It is also a deadly type of fungus that reduces the life of a banana bush from 30 to 2-3 years and destroys its fruits.

Are you tired of bananas? It shouldn’t be

Once upon a time, a famous breed, the star of world trade, Gros Michel, became completely extinct. It was transmitted by the first Panama disease. It was replaced by our familiar Cavendish cultivars, which, although not susceptible, were resistant to destructive rot. The joy did not last long, one appeared in the late 80s leap (TR4 strain), which is widespread to this day on every continent. This is alarming not only because Cavendish varieties, like its predecessor, could disappear from shelves forever, but also because the yellow fruit is the staple food of nearly 400 million people in countries of hot spots.

It was already the eyes of the peoples who depend on hunting and gathering, and it is one of the oldest cultivated fruits in the world. It was consumed in Southeast Asia ten thousand years ago. But not the original primitive wild game (Musa acuminata) because it is inedible, full of hard seeds, but its seedless substitutes. These are Cavendish varieties, which account for 95 percent of world exports.

The second front also opened

Although more than a hundred species have been cultivated, they are almost genetically identical mind _ mind. This is why they are susceptible to disease.

In addition to the epidemic leaf fungus, the black sigatoka fungus. Smashing the leaves and thus the whole plant The pathogen, along with the new Panama disease, is wreaking havoc on banana plantations around the world, already threatening the survival of Cavendish varieties.

Various pesticides have so far been able to control the spread of the disease, but Dutch researchers at Wageningen University and Research Institute (WUR) recently Bedouins alarm. The Sigatoka mushroom is so viable that despite the development of newer and newer chemicals against it, it becomes resistant in no time.

Plant biologists can count on modifying Cavendish genes for lack of better genes. But it takes so many years to develop a delightful and delicious molecularly modified variety, and it’s scary that by the time it hits the shelves, we can barely remember our former favorites. And then, even strong skepticism about genetically modified plants must be addressed.

(Cover Photo: A worker wears a banana during the harvest season near Galcocutan, Nayarit, Mexico, July 30, 2021. Photo: Cesar Rodriguez/Bloomberg/Getty Images)