BEACON TRANSCRIPT – With bananas being one of the most popular fruits in the world people are getting worried as a lethal fungus may cause banana apocalypse.
In Asia, a fungus has been spreading through banana crops and damaging them so badly they are approaching extinction. Unfortunately, the fungus is now extending its negative influence to the rest of the world and some scientists believe this could be the end of the beloved fruit.
The fungus originated in Indonesia and spread from there to Taiwan, then China and then to the rest of Southeast Asia. The fungus is named Tropical Race 4 which shows it is not the first fungus affecting banana crops. Its predecessor, Tropical Race 1 hit Latin America banana cultures in the late 1800s.
The last time bananas have almost gone extinct was in 1960s. That year were introduced commercial bananas in order to replace the variety that was almost completely destroyed by the fungus. However, these bananas are very vulnerable as they don’t grow naturally through sexual reproduction that could enhance their resistance.
Researchers have agreed that in order to stop the spreading of the infection bananas have to go through an in-depth inspection to find out whether they are infected or not and whether they are more likely to further spread the fungus.
Although quarantine measures have been taken and everyone in the business was informed of the matter and its consequence it seems that in fact, little has been done about it.
The outbreaks of the fungus are not new and have been occurring in Australia and Sourtheast Asia since 2013, destroying entire crops in the meantime. Moreover, in Central and East Africa, 50 % of the permanent crop area is occupied by bananas. Losing their main crop would be devastating for these African regions.
The threat of the banana disappearance goes as far as 2003 when rumors started circulating about a banana collapse. However, FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared that the rumors are not true and bananas are not on the verge of extinction. This might explain why the necessary precautions haven’t been taken.
The main variety of banana that’s being threatened is called Cavendish. It may be that we will have to turn again to laboratories to create some sort of hybrid new banana to replace the ones destroyed by the fungus.
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