The Panama disease, or “Fusarium wilt,” is beginning to spread across the globe and is infected banana crops, starting from Asia and traveling to Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. The banana that most eat, the Cavendish banana, is the most threatened.
This disease is threatening to harm Latin America’s export of bananas.
Labeled as one of “the world’s most destructive banana diseases” by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the industry has taken protective measures against the recent outbreak that threatens the global banana crop population. In fear that travelers will traipse contaminated dirt onto non-infected soil, the International Banana Congress that was supposed to take place in Costa Rica, has been changed at the last minute to Miami.
This isn’t the first time a disease to the most consumed banana has happened.
In the 1960s, the same disease wiped out a previous banana which resulted in the current banana species, the Cavendish, to be adopted as the replacement for the former most popular banana. While the new replacement at the same quality as the previous banana, it was resistant to the vicious bacteria.
Researchers believe that history might repeat itself once more and in result, searching for a new banana to possible replace the current species, just in case. Taiwanese scientists are experimenting on new bananas that are mutated from the current species of banana. They are attempting to make a banana that is resistant to the current strand of the Panama disease.
They fall short of the standard held by previous popular bananas, but researchers are hopeful to continue in their research to provide a better and more resistant banana.