Thursday, June 18, 2015

No treatments yet for aggressive banana disease

Bananas are the most commonly consumed fresh fruit in the U. S., with the average person eating 10.4 pounds of bananas each year as of 2010 (USDA-Economic Research Service 2010).  A major concern for the banana growers in the Americas is the new Fusarium wilt (Tropical Race 4) that is hitting banana growers hard in Africa, the Middle East and southeast Asia.  The most popular banana cultivar, Cavendish, replaced other banana varieties in the 1950 after they were almost entirely taken out by Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 1.  Cavendish was resistant to that disease and has been widely grown since, but it is susceptible to the new Tropical Race 4.  It hasn't been found in the Americas yet, but without an effective treatment and no known resistant varieties to replace the Cavendish, that is the largest concern for this $44 billion industry.

bananas (Musa spp.) by Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo,
Source Article: Americas may be hit by catastrophic banana disease