Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 04:28 pm
The next time you eat a banana I suggest you savor it. You might have to explain to your grandchildren what it tasted like. Bananas could very well go extinct in the early part of this century

From "Can This Fruit Be Saved" in Popular Science:
Quote:
The banana as we know it is on a crash course toward extinction. For scientists, the battle to resuscitate the world's favorite fruit has begun"a race against time that just may be too late to win...


http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-06/can-fruit-be-saved
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,445 • Replies: 8
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:04 pm
@Green Witch,
EEEEK!!!

That's a Halloween put-on, right? Right? You're just tryin'a scare the bejazus out of me, Gren Witch. Right? A world w/o bananas is totally unimaginable.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:10 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Oh, something like five years ago, they were touting a tomato virus that would make it a thing of the past, too.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:17 pm
@roger,
Whew! Thanx for reminding me, Rog. I'll sleep easier tonight.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:31 pm
@roger,
The tomato thing was no where near as serious as this banana crisis. Although, I too hope science will be able to come to the rescue.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 06:40 pm
@Green Witch,
I remember reading about the banana crisis perhaps a year ago. Seems there are plenty of banana varieties but none exactly like the 'common banana' _ I forget the name - that is prevalent in a lot of places. I seem to remember there was at least one that was pretty close. Thing is, the growing areas are have been primarily dedicated to one variety.. so changing that would take time.

(I didn't read the article yet, maybe I'm just repeating what it said.)

Just read it.. Cavendish, I thought it started with C.
Well, hey, that's what can happen with little diversity in planting.
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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 10:01 pm
It might go to the wall the way other monocultures have done so.

In the 19th Century the European wine grape was almost elimated by disease. As was the 'Irish potato' around the same time. They have been replaced by other varieties with a resistence - as could the banana.

The real danger is not in a 'luxury' crop going under*, the real risk is from the loss of viable strains of wheat. Every season is a battle to come up with a variety of wheat not susceptible to a bug that could wipe out a food source for billions.


*I mean, we could live without bananas
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 10:26 pm
The most popular form of banana imported to the US was the Gros Michel, or 'Big Mike' banana. But these bananas became unavailable back in the 50's due to Panama Disease. The form we are currently familiar with is the Cavendish.

For those who have tried both, the Gros Michel was generally considered to be much better.

The Cavendish will likely succumb to disease just like its predecessor, but in a few generations, most people won't remember the cavendish and whatever the successor is, will be the new "banana" that future generations will love (just as we love our Cavendish).


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Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Oct, 2008 10:42 pm
Got no doubt that earlier varieties were better, the nature of monoculture is to go with traits such as early picking, durability after post-harvest and resistance to Monsanto-branded products. Taste and edibility? Commie....

A real danger lies in the spread of diseases attacking plantains. These are different to the 'dessert banana', eaten as a staple. They are starchy and eaten boiled or roasted. A flour can be made from them AND an alcoholic drink!!

The loss of this species would be a real disaster to peoples in East Africa and South America.
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