Scientists warn Cavendish bananas could go EXTINCT as 'catastrophic' fungal disease is about to wipe out the world's most popular type of fruit

Trending 6 months ago
  •  Cavendish bananas relationship for astir 50 percent of nan worldwide market
  • A caller strain of fungal illness is infecting plantations crossed nan globe 
  • READ MORE: Gene-editing could save bananas from extinction 

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com

Published: 12:01 EDT, 23 October 2023 | Updated: 12:06 EDT, 23 October 2023

Nearly half of nan world's bananas are connected nan brink of extinction arsenic a fungal illness threatens plantations crossed nan globe.

Cavendish crops successful Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Central America person already been infected by nan Panama disease, a soil-born fungus.

The illness causes nan plants to wilt by targeting their vascular strategy and reducing nan magnitude of h2o they return successful from nan soil. 

Experts precocious identified early signs of nan 'catastrophic' fungus successful South America, wherever astir exported Cavendish bananas are grown successful our supermarkets. 

Cavendish crops successful Asia, Africa, nan Middle East, Australia and Central America person already been infected by nan Panama disease, a soil-born fungus.

Cavendish bananas relationship for 47 percent of world banana accumulation and exports.

However, this type of banana was grown to switch different that was eradicated by nan disease.

Gros Michel, besides called Big Mike, was nan main type until nan 1950s.

The United Fruit Company popularized Gros Michael but introduced Cavendish successful 1947 erstwhile nan banana plantations began to dice off.

Cavendish was immune to nan strand, allowing it to predominate nan market.

However, successful 1997, scientists recovered a caller strain called TR4 successful Australia that could infect Cavendish, and nan fungus traveled passim nan continent by 2015.

Experts precocious identified nan 'catastrophic' fungus successful South America, wherever astir exported Cavendish bananas are grown successful our supermarkets

James Dale, a professor and leader of nan banana biotechnology programme astatine nan Queensland University of Technology, told Insider: 'Since then, it has dispersed to India and China, nan world's largest producers of bananas. 

'It has besides dispersed to nan Middle East and Africa and very precocious was recovered successful South America.'

Panama TR4 is easy dispersed by people, vehicles, machinery and animals by nan activity of infected banana plants, planting material, and contaminated ungraded and water. 

The infection is evident erstwhile leaves statesman to move yellow, which past leads to wilting and browning.

The stem of banana plants will past rot connected nan inside, which appears arsenic a discoloration erstwhile trim open.

The infection is evident erstwhile leaves statesman to move yellow, which past leads to wilting and browning

The stem of banana plants will past rot connected nan inside, which appears arsenic a discoloration erstwhile trim open

Scientists are moving connected a TR4-resistant Cavendish aliases a resistant replacement for Cavendish, which is done by processing a genetically modified version.

This is imaginable utilizing CRISPR-Cas9, a precise method that allows academics to change and region sections of DNA, allowing nan full eradication of nan disease. 

A squad of researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is besides processing a genetically modified variety of Cavendish bananas called QCAV-4.

QCAV-4 bananas, developed successful business pinch authorities and industry, person been grown successful section tests successful nan Northern Territory for complete six years and person proven highly resistant to Panama Disease TR4. 

The consequence is simply a Cavendish Grand Nain banana that has been bioengineered pinch a azygous gene, RGA2, from nan chaotic southeast Asian banana.

'I would opportunity pinch certainty that location will beryllium a solution earlier nan export marketplace for Cavendish is severely affected,' Dale told Insider.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THE CAVENDISH BANANA?  

The Cavendish banana is presently nan world's main commercialized crop.

It was first grown successful ample volumes by nan Peak District stately location of Chatsworth house.  

According to folklore, Chatsworth's first caput gardener, Joseph Paxton was inspired to turn a banana by 1 he saw depicted connected Chinese wallpaper successful a chamber astatine Chatsworth.  

For astir a 100 years nan communicative was thought to beryllium a myth, arsenic cipher could find nan painted banana.  

Joseph Paxton was successfully increasing bananas astatine Chatsworth by 1835 aft obtaining 1 from Mauritius.  

There was awesome excitement astatine Chatsworth successful November 1835 erstwhile nan banana works flowered. By nan pursuing May, it was loaded pinch much than 100 fruit. 

Within a fewer years, he had capable plants to connection them to enthusiasts from each complete nan country. 

The banana assortment known arsenic Gros Michel was initially nan world leader and had nan separator until nan Second World War.

But nan Dwarf Cavendish had definite characteristics which gave it an advantage.

The 1 spot which enabled nan Cavendish assortment to return nan crown arsenic apical banana was its greater guidance to disease.

The Gros Michel was virtually wiped retired worldwide by Panama disease, besides known arsenic banana wilt, caused by a fungus. 

Within a decade, nan Dwarf Cavendish and its varieties had go nan main commercialized harvest astir nan globe.     

The Cavendish banana is presently nan world's main commercialized crop. It was first grown successful ample volumes by nan Peak District stately location of Chatsworth location successful nan 19th period (right) and is still grown location coming (left) 


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