Biology Botany 

Bananas, Panama Disease, and You

By Radhika Desikan Bananas are a ubiquitous fruit that generally appeals to humans of all ages, from infants to older people. But did you know that our consumption of bananas might be reduced in the future, due to a devastating disease that is hitting the crop worldwide? Panama disease of bananas is a hugely devastating plant disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). It was originally discovered in the late 19th century, but spread globally in the early 20th century, when the disease wiped out a…

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Bananas, Panama Disease Biology Environment Health 

Panama Disease is Killing the Banana

By Gert HJ Kema, Professor of Tropical Phytopathology, Wageningen University and Research Center, Wageningen, The Netherlands Cavendish bananas saved the entire banana industry a century ago. The then most planted variety “Gros Michel” was being wiped out by the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum. The fungus was causing Panama disease, severe and progressive wilting and that eventually lead to plant death. The extinction of the first popular banana was a blow to the developing export trade, to growers and all associated workers and lead to huge societal unrest and economic collapse. The major…

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