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Banana drama: Fungus epidemic means fruit could be on the verge of extinction

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posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 08:35 AM
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NOOOOOOO, just NOOOOOOO. I love bananas


So here's the deal:




Your favourite yellow fruit could be on the verge of extinction as a fungus epidemic is threatening the entire global supply.

According to reports, around 10,000 hectares of banana plantations have already been destroyed due to this devastating disease, known as the Panama Fungus. And experts are warning many more will follow suit if the fungus isn't stopped in its tracks.

Bananas are mainly grown in tropical areas such as Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The outbreak of the fungul epidemic has already been particularly disastrous in the Philippines.


So because of a Fungus, the main variety of Bananas can go extinct. One of the reasons this is happening is because all of these bananas have the same genetic code, in other words, there are no genetic variability, which makes any disease fatal to bananas.


Speaking to the BBC Dr Gert Kema, an expert in global plant production from the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, explained: "This does not mean that next week there will be no bananas in supermarkets in the UK.

"This is going to take some time but that time is extremely pressing. We have nothing to replace the Cavendish right now."'


Sauce
edit on Tue Jan 26 2016 by DontTreadOnMe because: trimmed overly long quote IMPORTANT: Using Content From Other Websites on ATS




posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 08:39 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 08:47 AM
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Good news....This is from today...
www.gmo-compass.org...




The banana is a tropical plant. For export, primarily the crossed species Musa x paradisiaca is cultivated. Until the 1960s this status was held by the "Gros Michel"; however, due to fungal disease known as "Panama disease", use of this variety was abandoned. Today, the most important commercial grade is the "Cavendish", in which the fungal disease appears only lightly.


More good news...sorta.....




Molecular pharming: vaccine bananas are expected to be used for the production of vaccines. For that purpose, DNA sequences of specific disease proteins are channelled into the banana genome. By consuming these bananas, the immune system builds antibodies to the pathogen proteins and accrues protection by vaccination. Research for vaccine bananas against hepatitis B, jaundice, cholera, polio, rubella/measles and diarrhoea is being done. These bananas are expected to be introduced in countries in which classical vaccine campaigns are only performed with difficulty.





posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: Frocharocha


The virus is made all the more threatening by the fact most bananas exported around the world are the same variety - the Cavendish. As there is no other type of banana to fall back on, if the Cavendish is hit by the catastrophic epidemic, Britain will be one of hundreds of regions to lose out.


And therein lies the danger of monoculture. No important crop should rely on a single strain; several should be bred and the fields planted so that the different strains serve as mutual "firebrakes." Not to worry, after a brief shortage new species will be created and planted. In the meantime, get used to plantains.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 10:31 AM
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a reply to: Frocharocha
This has happened before. I watched a video about bananas and it said that the bananas we eat now aren't the same variety there were around in the 50's. Back then they ate Gros Michel banana. It said that those bananas were much better than what we have now, which are Cavendish bananas. There was a fungal epidemic that wiped them out though.




posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 10:49 AM
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There are other types of Banana in the world. I think what this fungus is targeting is the variety that we commonly eat, the Cavendish Banana. Our lack of variety also spells out our doom for the plant, because if everyone is cultivating that one variety, it makes them more prone to disease.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 02:37 PM
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And this is why heirloom strains of any cultivated plant are so important. Are there no hobby banana growers who swear by their heirloom plants and strains?



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 04:35 PM
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a reply to: Frocharocha

I've often wondered why bananas seem to go off much faster than other fruits! I was beginning to think the queen and well off were getting all the best bananas and leaving the rest for the rest of us.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 04:38 PM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

Ugh! Proof once again that life in the '50s was much better.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 05:04 PM
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Maybe they could start planting and harvesting the Gros Michel variety and give the Cavendish a break. Kind of like farmers rotating crops, maybe they should rotate the banana varieties.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 05:13 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
I agree. Then again, they didn't have ATS.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 05:17 PM
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a reply to: StoutBroux
I agree that they should rotate them out. I don't know if the Gros Michel variety is still around. The video I posted said they were virtually wiped out by the Panama disease.



posted on Jan, 26 2016 @ 06:25 PM
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No worries. I'm sure Monsanto will step in with some genetically modified bananas that are resistant to this fungus. Never mind that we'll grow additional toes on each foot as a consequence. But we must have our banana splits!

-dex



posted on Jan, 27 2016 @ 04:14 AM
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Hmm, what about apple banana?



posted on Jan, 27 2016 @ 11:07 PM
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originally posted by: DJW001
a reply to: Frocharocha


The virus is made all the more threatening by the fact most bananas exported around the world are the same variety - the Cavendish. As there is no other type of banana to fall back on, if the Cavendish is hit by the catastrophic epidemic, Britain will be one of hundreds of regions to lose out.


And therein lies the danger of monoculture. No important crop should rely on a single strain; several should be bred and the fields planted so that the different strains serve as mutual "firebrakes." Not to worry, after a brief shortage new species will be created and planted. In the meantime, get used to plantains.


Yep. Monoculture strikes again. At least in these parts of the Philippines we don't have the banana fungus, and the 20+ banana trees spread around the garden are doing just fine.



posted on Jan, 27 2016 @ 11:26 PM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

It saved the papaya industry. I eat a lot of papaya and have not yet died or grown any new appendages.
hawaiitribune-herald.com...
edit on 1/27/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2016 @ 05:21 AM
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a reply to: Phage

Are you eating the transgenic Rainbow variety? Or just some papayas growing around your place?

Sure the transgenic may have saved the industry on Hawaii, but they also are the ones that caused the problem with monoculture.



posted on Jan, 28 2016 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Well you have to admit that growing extra toes would be a boon for the footwear industry. As our standard shoes become obsolete, think of all the new ones that will have to designed and manufactured. Different sizes of shoes based on the number of extra toes.

We'll also have a much more stable base and better swimmers. People who have foot fetishes would have a lot more to work with, though it may take some time for them to get used to the new paradigm.



It saved the papaya industry. I eat a lot of papaya and have not yet died or grown any new appendages.
Are you sure about that? That fiber-optic connector on the side of your head that allows your brain direct access to the Internet had to have come from somewhere.


But in all seriousness, GMO may be the only option for saving the banana industry. In fact GMO may be the only way to save a number of crops in the future. Globalism has enabled the spread of plant diseases that were once geographically isolated. They are, apparently, successfully fighting off some of these maladies using powerful pesticides and herbicides. However we know that these invasive diseases can grow immune to such treatments. And the environmental toxicity of the runoff creates yet another intractable problem.

But there are at least a couple of problems with GMO foods. Namely that there is a good bit of International skepticism of any genetically modified organisms, and the fact that companies like Monsanto control them so tightly. However, in the face of complete extinction, if some of these International consumers still want to enjoy their banana splits and apple-banana lollipops then they will have to relent.

On the other hand, I have to agree with some of the criticism about the giga-corporations, like Monsanto, controlling those foodstuffs. I'm a fan of capitalism, so I believe that the inventor of any technology should be well compensated for their efforts. But, Monsanto takes it to such extremes that I fear they have too much control of a commodity that is absolutely essential to life.

It's a tough call. Either an Internationally acceptable means of combatting these diseases needs to be invented, preferably by someone not interested in controlling the whole industry, or people will need to accept these new products.

-dex



posted on Jan, 28 2016 @ 06:32 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
And this is why heirloom strains of any cultivated plant are so important. Are there no hobby banana growers who swear by their heirloom plants and strains?
there are other banana varieties. one promising example hails from the philipines. but a lot of the other banana varieties are seedy. though that should not be a show stopper. in fact seeded varieties wold be subject to natural variation and could be used to establish new cultivars. and banana history goes back beyond the gros michel cultivar. before that there was another commercial cultivar and it too gave way to the new top banana because it was wiped out by disease.
edit on 28-1-2016 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2016 @ 06:47 PM
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a reply to: Frocharocha
My sweetheart lives in Papua New Guinea and I asked her about this because they grow bananas there. Theirs are fine. Then again, the kind they have look kind of small so it must be a different variety.
ETA: They call the variety they have "sweet bananas". I don't know what others would call them. Others there they only eat cooked and not raw. I guess they come in different sizes, depending on variety. No fungus there though.
edit on 28-1-2016 by Skid Mark because: (no reason given)



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