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io9: Get ready for the banana pandemic to destroy your favorite fruit


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Get ready for the banana pandemic to destroy your favorite fruit


A highly-contagious form of fungus sometimes called Panama disease has devastated crops in Asia, and has now been found in Mozambique. It sounds like a joke, but this pandemic is deadly serious and could affect the world's fruit supply.


Earlier this month, the scientific journal Nature published an article about Mozambique's efforts to contain the blight pandemic by quarantining fields where it has been found, hoping that it won't spread. The country needs more funds to prevent the spread of Panama disease. Unchecked, this banana pandemic could potentially cut off the global supply of one of the world's most popular fruits, a healthy source of minerals that's used in many cuisines.


There have been previous banana pandemics from a similar kind of fungus, and those diseases were only stopped when farmers turned to a new strain of banana that was not vulnerable to the fungus. Now, unfortunately, the fungus has mutated enough to that it can affect these new bananas. Even more unfortunately, this banana strain is used all over the world, which makes it easy for Panama to spread.


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Seems benign enough to us in the First World, but to those in the Third World this could be devastating. Sure Chiquita et al will have their best teams working on new fungal resistant strains. But for those farmers who rely on selling their harvest at local markets this can be utterly devastating.

I think of her....


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