Can you imagine having your breakfast or cereal without a banana? It looks like it may be a reality we may soon have to face as the banana crop faces real issues and could be extinct in the next few decades.
In the middle of the 1900s, the most popular type of banana (Gros Michel) was threatened by a fungus known as Panama disease. The fruit fungus was so damaging that in a few decades, the bananas became nearly extinct. At the time, experts were able to “save” the fruit by using another type of banana, but this time, they have no backup plan and have not found another kind of banana to replace it with yet. According to SMH, a new disease is threatening the banana once again — the fruit could face permanent extinction, this time, the experts report.
Fifty years later, a new disease threatens the banana, Cavendish (which replaced the Gros Michel in the early 1900s) and could bring the fruit back to extinction. What’s even worse is that scientist knows something is killing the banana crops, but don’t know how to stop the fungus.Until they can figure out the type of fungus that is killing the plants, there is nothing they can do to halt the disease.
The fungus is known as Tropical Race 4, which is a stronger version of Panama disease. Scientists fear that it cannot be stopped, and there is no known cure yet. The fungus has been busy destroying banana crops all over the world. Experts noted that Americans should enjoy the fruit while they can because bananas will be nonexistent within decades unless they can find a cure to Tropical Race 4.
The disease was first seen in Southeast Asia 50 years ago; however, it has been seen in other parts of Asia, Africa, Middle East, and Australia. Experts stated that it would only take a matter of time before the fungus makes its way to Latin America–where the United States gets a vast majority of their fruit from currently, Tech Times reports.
If the disease spread to Latin America, the banana crop would spiral into extinction as that’s where a majority of the fruit is grown and exported globally. The scientist claimed that it is not a question if the fungus affects the banana, it is a question of when. Of course, experts are hoping that they can at least, find a way to prolong the disease from wiping the banana crop from existence, but at this point, they aren’t hopeful. Every month that passes by, they are reminded that this fungus is getting worse, and they are powerless in how to stop it in its tracks.
The biggest obstacle is that if the newest banana plant is brought to extinction, there is no backup plan to provide the world with bananas. The fruit would face extinction and disappear; this time, the disappearance would be permanent. Not only are they researching how to stop the pesky fungus, but they are working hard to figure out another banana crop that could replace the one currently used. So far, the scientists haven’t found a solution for either issue. They have a small window of time to figure out what the next plan is, or Americans will be faced with taking the banana fruit out of their diet.
Do you think that the farmers can find another type of banana to replace the Gros Michel crop with before it’s too late? Can the scientists figure out how to save the banana plant, and develop a cure for the Tropical Race 4 fungus?
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