Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Shit is Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I'm going to tell you something that will most likely, not be very pleasing news to your future fruit-pizza recipe.

The black sigatoka fungus will eventually curtail all banana production in the world.

Here's the problem: since 1950, when the Panama fungus exterminated the most popular type at the time, known as the Gros Michel banana, there has been only one variety of banana traded/sold in the world today, known as the Cavendish. In 2003, New Scientist reported that the world-wide Cavendish crop (the genetic roots of which lie in India) was threatened by multiple pandemics, notably the Black Sigatoka fungus. As of right now, there are fungucides used to combat the fungus, but as the bananas evolve the (black sigatoka) pathogens are becoming resistant to these chemicals. Personally, this news upsets me very much. I like bananas, and eat them fairly regularly when in season.

However, there is hope. Initially, efforts were fruitless (pun-intended) since modern bananas do not produce seeds, rather reproduce using cuttings from the banana plant. Fortunately, some Brazilian varieties are being genetically engineered with fungus resistant genes. According to Truth about Trade the tests appear promising.

I hope so. Honestly, what would life be like without bananas? No banana-splits. No banana... chunks in Jello? No banana... chunks in cereal?


It appears that the world could go on without bananas. As long as banana nut bread and Creme de Banana Liqueur still existed. I think we would get along.