It may be time to say goodbye to bananas. It may also be time to panic.
An "apocalyptic" scenario for the most popular banana type can be developed in Latin America. A strong and incredibly difficult to stop fungus has been discovered in the area.
The fungus, a strain of Fusarium oxysporum, is known as Tropical Race 4, reports the New York Post. The Colombian Institute of Agriculture has confirmed that a strain of TP4 was found. This led the government to declare a national emergency.
The farmers were ordered to destroy crops in the area where the fungus was discovered and to quarantine plantations. Unfortunately, while these extreme measures have been taken, it may not be enough to stop the spread of the banana killing fungus.
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Sarah Gurr, Exeter University's chair in food safety, told Wired, "What we have is an almost apocalyptic scenario where we probably lose Cavendish as well."
Cavendish bananas are the most cultivated and consumed type of banana worldwide. A large part of the world's bananas are grown in Latin America, where fruiting fungi have been discovered.
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Part of the reason TP4 is so dangerous that it can be dormant for years. When the infection is detected, it can be difficult to see how widespread it is. The fungus spreads through the soil, which means that the tires and work boats can help it spread.
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Bananas vulnerable to the strain can no longer be grown in an infected plot, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The fungal strain is not vulnerable to fungicides or fumigants, which makes it almost impossible to eradicate when it appears.