viernes, 13 de marzo de 2015

Going Bananas? The threat of Panama disease, an interview with prof. Ivan Buddenhagen

The serious threats facing the world’s favourite fruit

Learn how we can save the banana... And why that is so important. 

When was the last time you ate a banana? Have you ever considered what it might be like if the famous musical hit 'Yes, we have no bananas' was to become a reality?

Such a scenario is not as unlikely as it may seem as the future of the world’s favourite fruit is under serious threat. And not for the first time...

In the first half of the 20th century, our parents and grandparents ate a delicious banana called Gros Michel, or Big Mike in colloquial terms. But in the 1950s a deadly strain of Panama disease wiped out almost all banana plantations in Central and South America. Despite the best efforts of growers, this most flavourful of fruits became virtually extinct.

In the second half of the 1900s banana producers across the world switched to a different cultivar, the so-called the Cavendish. Although less tasty than Gros Michel, Cavendish was resistant to the type of Fusarium that was causing Panama disease.

As a result, following enormous investments in infrastructural changes required to accommodate the Cavendish’s different growing and ripening needs, the banana industry was saved.

But not for ever… in the 1990s a new strain of the Fusarium fungus appeared and began to spread. Originating in Taiwan, it soon reached other South East Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines – and even northern Australia. Thousands of hectares of Cavendish have already been destroyed and many will follow if we are unable to stop Panama disease.

On the 18th of November we interviewed Prof. Ivan Buddenhagen about Panama disease.

More info about Panama disease is availlable on:

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