Tags: bananas | extinction | fungal | outbreak

Bananas Extinction Just One Fungal Outbreak Away

Image: Bananas Extinction Just One Fungal Outbreak Away

(Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 04 Nov 2016 08:06 AM

Bananas extinction could be one fungal outbreak away if scientists can't figure out a way to genetically protect the popular fruit.

The most popular bananas in the Western world, the Cavendish subgroup, are vulnerable to disease outbreaks because they are genetically identical and are dependent on propagation via cloning, according to the academic website The Conversation.

"Fungal diseases severely devastated the banana industry once in history and it could soon happen again if we do not resolve the cause of these problems," said the site. "Plant scientists, including us, are working out the genetics of wild banana varieties and banana pathogens as we try to prevent a Cavendish crash."

In August, plant pathologist Ioannis Stergiopoulos told Australia's News.com that a fast-advancing disease compound, known as the Sigatoka complex, could threaten the world's banana supply. The Sigatoka complex is made up of three fungal diseases — yellow Sigatoka, eumusae leaf spot, and black Sigatoka.

"We have demonstrated that two of the three most serious banana fungal diseases have become more virulent by increasing their ability to manipulate the banana's metabolic pathways and make use of its nutrients," said Stergiopoulos, who works at the University of California, Davis.

"This parallel change in metabolism of the pathogen and the host plant has been overlooked until now and may represent a 'molecular fingerprint' of the adaption process. It is really a wake-up call to the research community to look at similar mechanisms between pathogens and their plant hosts."

The Conversation said a fungal disease called Fusarium wilt, or Panama disease, nearly killed off the Gros Michel bananas in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing the global banana export industry to near collapse.

Cavendish growers currently manage Black Sigatoka with a combination of pruning infected leaves and fungicides. It can take 50 or more applications of chemicals annually to control the disease, which could be damaging environmentally.

Iin the long run, researchers need to increase the pool of genetic diversity in cultivated bananas so it not dependent on a single clones of Cavendish or the Gros Michel, said The Conversation.

© 2018 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
Bananas extinction could be one fungal outbreak away if scientists can't figure out a way to genetically protect the popular fruit.
bananas, extinction, fungal, outbreak
344
2016-06-04
Friday, 04 Nov 2016 08:06 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved