Fungus Threatens To Make The Bananas You Eat Extinct

via The Consumerist by Ben Popken on 1/5/11

Do you like to eat bananas? Better get your fill in. A horrible fungus called “Tropical Race Four” is threatening to kill off the one variety that everyone eats, the Cavendish.

The wilt, which has already decimated Cavendishes across Asia, destroyed 70% of the crop in Taiwan, and devastated Australia, makes the bananas smell like rotting trash and shrinks their roots so that they can’t even stand up.

Scientists think that it’s only a matter of time before it reaches Central America, which would mean no more bananas for Billy. They’re racing to genetically engineer two new kinds of bananas. One would be a Cavendish that’s resistant to the fungus, while the other aims to be a new, superior variety that the fungus can’t target.

If they’re not successful, I fear that in the not too distant future my Cheerios will be some lonely grain circles floating in a puddle of milk.



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