A destructive fungal virus is spreading through banana plantations across several countries and completely destroying crops in it. Netherlands have now stated that plantations across the globe are being affected by this fungus.
Previous reports of the fungus affecting plantations in Taiwan and has already completely annihilated plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Now the fungal infection is soon expected to reach Latin America, which is one of the largest Exporters of Bananas in the world. The fungus apparently cuts through the plant’s vascular system and stops water supply from the soils.
Ultimately the plants wither out and die and the worst news is that this issue seems to be unsolvable. The infection mainly affects Cavendish Bananas, mainly due to its monoculture, which are almost half the world’s Banana production and the fungus has been identified to be a clone of a Panama disease Tropical Race 4 (TR 4).
The current scenario is reminiscent of a crisis that look place in the 1800s when plantations in Australia were affected with a similar fungal infection and then subsequently the “Gros Michel” Bananas in Costa Rica & Panama were affected.
This was termed as of the worst agricultural disasters in history. Following this in the 1900s the Panama disease originated in parts of Cuba and this called for improvements in disease management research in agriculture.
Now researchers estimate that the TR 4 has destroyed approximately 100,000 hectares and it looks to be spreading further due to infected plant material, soil, machine & tools, footwear or poor sanitation.
Bananas are one of the most commonly available fruits in the world and are the source of several nutrients. It has several health benefits including:
- The High Potassium content helps regulating the blood pressure in the body.
- Potassium is also used by several parts of the body for its basic functioning.
- They are known to be a mood stabilizer, which is owed to the high Vitamin B6 and Tryptophan content.
Bananas also improve heart health and prevent cardiovascular ailments. Consumption lowers chances of heart ailments.
- They also contain generous doses of Vitamin C, which is important in prevention of minor ailments and infections.
- The high fiber content helps in improving and regulating the digestion process, with the fructose containing carbohydrates maintains the bacteria levels in the lower intestine balanced. All these factors put together ensures that the digestive system functions effectively.
We can only hope that researchers find a way to defeat the fungal infections to preserve this fabulous fruit.