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Could Tropical Race Four Take Out the US Banana Supply?

Could 2011 Be the Year We Say Bye-Bye to Bananas?

Yesterday The New Yorker published a comprehensive story about Tropical Race Four, a type of fungus that is currently threatening to destroy the United State's banana crop. While there are more than 1,000 types of bananas, only one, the Cavendish banana, is ideal for cultivating and exporting. Thus, the majority of banana plantations in the world harvest Cavendishes.

However, the Tropical Race Four fungus has already taken out Cavendish crops in Asia and Australia, and the fungus is set to hit Latin America next. If it does, the entire crop of US bananas could become extinct. While some scientists are frantically searching for a cure to Tropical Race Four, others are trying to engineer a stronger banana.

But, if there's so many other types of bananas out there, wouldn't it be easier to farm and export them? What do you think should be the solution to possible banana extinction?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
deanna024 deanna024 5 years
Yes, anonymous is right. It's not that this banana tastes the best -- it's that companies decided this variety was the most economical to produce. Unfortunately in our industrialized food society, it's not the people's tastes that rule, it's the product! Any time we rely too much on one variety, it only brings trouble. For another plant example, we have emerald ash borer bugs here, causing destruction of all the ash trees. The place where I work had only planted ash trees years ago, so guess what? All the trees had to be cut down when the bug came through. If they had added variety to the horticultural mix, that wouldn't have been so.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I eat at LEAST one banana a day. This would make me very sad!
ellaella15 ellaella15 5 years
Please no!!! =((
Soniabonya Soniabonya 5 years
Nooooooooooooo! I love bananas! I'm with you Anon. I practically eat one everyday. Smoothies, on the go, baked, sautee.... :cry: I hope they find a cure. How does this fungus travel across the seas? I mean that's a big gap between Latin America and Australia/Asia. I know maybe carried on the wind, but that still bewilders me. And how long until it destroys the crop? Days? Weeks? Years?
fuzzles fuzzles 5 years
I haven't read the article yet, but I truly hope that this doesn't come to fruition. A toasted peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich is a work of art that everyone should experience.
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