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Yes, we'll have no bananas; fungus arrives in New World

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by essentialsaltes, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. essentialsaltes

    essentialsaltes Stranger in a Strange Land

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    A fungus that has wreaked havoc on banana plantations in the Eastern Hemisphere has, despite years of preventative efforts, arrived in the Americas.

    ICA, the Colombian agriculture and livestock authority, confirmed on Thursday that laboratory tests have positively identified the presence of so-called Panama disease Tropical Race 4 on banana farms in the Caribbean coastal region. The announcement was accompanied by a declaration of a national state of emergency.

    No known fungicide or biocontrol measure has proven effective against TR4. “As far as I know, ICA and the farms are doing a good job in terms of containment, but eradication is almost impossible,”

    Banana agriculture is itself partly to blame for the potential of the fungus to spread. Commercial plantations grow almost exclusively one clonal variety, called the Cavendish; these plants’ identical genetics mean they are also identically susceptible to disease.

    Latin America depends on bananas not only as a food source but also as a primary economic resource. The region contains four of the top five producers of bananas for the export market, and all of the top 10 banana exporters to the United States. Ecuador, which shares a border with Colombia, is the world’s largest exporter. The proliferation of TR4 in South and Central America could cause widespread economic distress.
     
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  2. wing2000

    wing2000 E pluribus unum Supporter

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    Perhaps it's time we (globally) stop mass producing and consuming one variety of banana for export?

    “I’m not saying we have a standby Cavendish to replace the current Cavendish, but there are other varieties with other colors, and other shapes, and other yields, which will survive TR4,” says Rony Swennen, a professor at the University of Leuven who maintains the International Musa Germplasm Collection, a collection of more than 1,500 banana varieties. “The question is, will the industry accept it, and are the customers ready to change to another taste?”
     
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  3. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    I haven't had a banana in years, you can just say no thanks too.
    I cant imagine a different banana variety tasting better, if it did, they would have been growing those.

    Prior to the cavendish there was a superior tasting banana which I grew up eating in the 60's, they were great bananas, Most people today have never eaten one and likely never will get the chance. they were also destroyed by a fungus.
     
  4. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    Glad I wasn't the only one thinking it.

     
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  5. essentialsaltes

    essentialsaltes Stranger in a Strange Land

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    Fun factoid: HP Lovecraft once snuck into a church and tried to play "Yes, We Have No Bananas" on the church organ.
     
  6. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Never mind I went to the link.. I hate links.

    Very sad this is happening.
     
  7. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    This is what happens when you only use one variety, it's also the danger of GMO crops if farmers start using one variety. Biodiversity is the reason we've come this far.
     
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  8. Nithavela

    Nithavela lologist

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    Oh no, how will the internet measure things now?
     
  9. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Regular Member

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    This is a much bigger story than first appears. Looking into this I found that the banana is the number four food crop after rice, wheat, and corn. Who knew? And the Cavendish represents about half of that.
     
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  10. RayJeena

    RayJeena Humble and proud of it. Supporter

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    The last time I ate a banana, which was over a year
    ago, I had stomach cramps so intense I actually
    considered calling 911 or going to the ER. I really
    could've used an epidural, it was that painful.

    I rode it out and was fine after about 6 hours, but
    never touched a banana after that.

    Now I'm wondering if that fungus thing had something
    to do with it...

    -
     
  11. Nithavela

    Nithavela lologist

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    Nah. That fungus only infects the tree and stops it from producing the Bananas in the first place.
     
  12. RayJeena

    RayJeena Humble and proud of it. Supporter

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    True, I remember reading that the bananas are not
    unsafe, in spite of being produced out of infected soil.

    Still, I wonder if my system was sensitive enough to
    even the subtlest influence the soil had on the banana,
    so that my stomach reacted as it did. The banana I ate
    was not unsafe (I didn't die), but it was excruciating.
     
  13. Nithavela

    Nithavela lologist

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    There's a far higher chance that you had just gotten a banana that was unripe or infected by something different.
     
  14. wing2000

    wing2000 E pluribus unum Supporter

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  15. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    Bananas are fine to eat, it's just not good to cultivate a single variety. If this variety is wiped out, there are other bananas varieties.
     
  16. MyOwnSockPuppet

    MyOwnSockPuppet Regeneration of myself after computer failure

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    The Gros Michel / Big Mike cultivar. It was the dominant farming cultivar in commercial banana growing between the dawn of organised single-cultivar banana farming until the 60's, and the emergence of the same fungus that will potentially wipe out Cavendish Bananas.

    The Cavendish replaced it precisely because it was resistant to the fungus, which has now adapted.

    What remains to be seen is whether the next choice will be planted monocultivar or whether we might have learned our lesson at the second attempt.

    You can still get Big Mike bananas from a very few places, notably Malaysia (Pisang Ambon) and Thailand (Kluai hom thong), although most of their exports go to Japan
     
  17. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

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    Biologists and geneticists are working to develop resistant good tasting bananas, maybe they will succeed. Lots of money thrown at this might get a solution, might not.
     
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