Bye, bye, banana? Scientists trying to save fruit from tropical disease
Could one of your favorite fruits be on the brink of extinction?
According to multiple reports, a type of fungal infection called the Panama disease is spreading in Africa and Asia.
The concern is if it spreads to South America. That’s the biggest supplier of the Cavendish banana; most bananas consumed around the world are that type.
Scientists are hoping a wild banana in Madagascar may hold the key to prevent extinction. It’s immune to the disease, but there are only five remaining trees.
Richard Allen, senior conservation assessor at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K., told the BBC, “It doesn’t have Panama disease in it, so perhaps it has genetic traits against the disease. We don’t know until we actually do research on the banana itself, but we can’t do the research until it’s saved.”
They are now in a race to successfully cross-breed the fruit.