Bananas: update on their impending doom

#1
The 1st Vanished Banana Your Ancestors Loved: The Gros Michel banana was probably a staple of your grandfather's or great grandfather's diet, but chances are you haven't had the pleasure of a taste. [The replacement Cavendish banana we eat today tastes bland in comparison] ... Nicknamed Big Mike, the banana was the first to be cultivated on a large scale, and started appearing in North American and European cities in the late 1800s. Yet the monocrop production of the plant doomed it; Panama disease descended and started devastating the plantations where it was primarily grown, and supplies of Big Mike became disrupted in the 1940s. By 1960 no commercial operations were able to grow Gros Michel in the Americas, Caribbean, and many other parts of the world.

Is it the current banana's turn to go commercially "extinct"?
https://www.livescience.com/65830-will-b...tinct.html

EXCERPT: . . . The way that we farm bananas acts as an accomplice to these threats, said Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, an ecologist at the University of Cardiff in Wales, United Kingdom [...] "When you have monoculture, you just have this endless amount of food for the pest — it's like a 24-hour buffet," she said. Pathogens incubate on these croplands, and huge farms fuel their spread across swathes of countryside.

Another weakness of Cavendish bananas is that they're bred asexually — so every plant is simply a clone of the previous generation. This means pathogens spread like wildfire: Without genetic variation, the population lacks resilience to threats.

These problems are compounded by the spread of another fungal disease, black sigatoka, whose spores travel through the air, infecting plants and reducing fruit yields. Climate change is also aiding the spread of this fungus [...] Fusarium wilt in particular has ravaged banana plantations across Asia — including in China, India and Taiwan — parts of Australia and East Africa. Now many are fearful that it will spread to major export countries in South America, like Ecuador - which could effectively mark the end for the Cavendish crop. "There's great risk that it could arrive there, where a lot of big Cavendish plantations are cultivated as monoculture for export to Western countries," Nicolas Roux said.

Facing this dire prognosis, can we bring bananas back from the brink? Well, it's not really bananas, in general, that need saving. Several hundred varieties of this fruit thrive successfully around the world, and some are even resistant to fusarium wilt. It's just the familiar Cavendish that's so profoundly threatened — and there is a real possibility that if fusarium wilt reaches South America, the Cavendish could go the way of the Gros Michel. That's why a big focus of the work that Roux and his colleagues do is to highlight the importance of local banana varieties in different countries. "We are now making an inventory of all types of bananas found in the local market, mainly for their taste quality, to convince breeders to focus on these," Roux said.

Protecting this diversity is also important because some of these wilder varieties might even contain genetic traits that are key to the Cavendish's survival. [...] By isolating these traits, they could then be conventionally bred with, or genetically-engineered into commercial banana strains, making them more resistant.

Sanderson Bellamy, on the other hand, believes that if we're going to create long-term change, we need to modify the way we farm. [...] Solving that problem would mean switching monoculture for smaller farms that are integrated with a diversity of crops, she said. These richer agricultural tapestries would be more resilient to pathogens that favor a singular crop for their spread, and would require fewer pesticides. (MORE - details)
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#2
imagine the massive amount of protein & vitamins bananas provide to babys and small children.

you would think there would be a bit more attention to it.

comparatively the Colony collapse disorder wiping out 50% of the worlds bees barely made it to the front pages and was treated like a joke by most media news channels..

how many baby foods have banana in them ?
the health industry uses massive amounts of bananas
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#3
(Jun 30, 2019 01:52 PM)RainbowUnicorn Wrote: imagine the massive amount of protein & vitamins bananas provide to babys and small children.

you would think there would be a bit more attention to it.

comparatively the Colony collapse disorder wiping out 50% of the worlds bees barely made it to the front pages and was treated like a joke by most media news channels..

how many baby foods have banana in them ?
the health industry uses massive amounts of bananas


While you and I can optimistically say it is a given that they'll eventually replace the Cavendish with a different cultivar, cultigen, or else genetically improve it to survive... The real question is how long will it take New World growers to make the transition. Will it be after their current plantations are destroyed or will it be done incrementally during the period before that? The good thing is that it takes circa nine months or less for a banana plant to grow and produce. Not the far lengthier time-span of a tree.

Bananas derived more directly from wild types are overloaded with hard seeds inside them, which plenty of Asian consumers do tolerate. But it's unlikely such bananas would be be recruited for mass-marketing in the West or be commercially successful, even if the cloned ones gave up the ghost.
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#4
(Jun 30, 2019 10:28 PM)C C Wrote:
(Jun 30, 2019 01:52 PM)RainbowUnicorn Wrote: imagine the massive amount of protein & vitamins bananas provide to babys and small children.

you would think there would be a bit more attention to it.

comparatively the Colony collapse disorder wiping out 50% of the worlds bees barely made it to the front pages and was treated like a joke by most media news channels..

how many baby foods have banana in them ?
the health industry uses massive amounts of bananas


While you and I can optimistically say it is a given that they'll eventually replace the Cavendish with a different cultivar, cultigen, or else genetically improve it to survive... The real question is how long will it take New World growers to make the transition. Will it be after their current plantations are destroyed or will it be done incrementally during the period before that? The good thing is that it takes circa nine months or less for a banana plant to grow and produce. Not the far lengthier time-span of a tree.

Bananas derived more directly from wild types are overloaded with hard seeds inside them, which plenty of Asian consumers do tolerate. But it's unlikely such bananas would be be recruited for mass-marketing in the West or be commercially successful, even if the cloned ones gave up the ghost.

when i stepped off that reading-trip it looked like it was left at the point of over ripening before they get to market.
matched with lack of ability to get high yield intensive growing.
the giants control the markets
they would be better to divest their type so they begin moving different types to fill the drop and provide a range of options in the mean time.
it will be a sad day to see the number 1 banana gone.
i lost count of how many protein shakes i had that simply HAD to have banana in them and only the specific type at the specific ripeness would do.
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