The Banana In Danger Of Extinction?

I know what you would say: unthinkable! The banana is about as plentiful as grass, as ordinary a part of our daily lives as a turkey sandwich.

Enter the fungus knowm as Panama disease.

According to a fascinating article in The Scientist, the bananas we are eating today aren’t the ones our grandparents ate. They ate a variety called the Gros Michel, which got wiped out by Panama disease. To replace Gros Michel, another variety — the Cavendish — was brought in. The Cavendish was immune to Panama disease. But it isn’t any longer.

A new strain of Panama disease — which is so infectious that some dirt on a shoe or tire tread could track it in — could, in theory, wipe the banana as we know it off the map. And while the big banana companies, according to The Scientist article, seem unconcerned — scientists are still busily trying to genetically engineer a super-banana that can withstand this new threat.

Of course, that brings us to the ins and outs of genetically-altered fruit, which is a post for another day.

This is all to say: go out this afternoon or evening and enjoy yourself a nice strawberry-banana smoothie! While you can!


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