Penguin TAS, Australia
For your information
Quest to save the banana from extinction - Panama disease
In an attempt to save the banana and the industry that produces it, scientists are trying to  create a variety resistant to Panama disease (Fusarium oxysporum) which has ravaged bananas for over 100 years before the Cavendish variety was produced which was Fusaium resistnce.  In the late 1960s, another outbreak of Panama disease was discovered in Taiwan in a plantation of Cavendish plants. By the early 2000s, only 6,000 hectares of banana plantations out of a former 50,000 hectares in Taiwan remained. The strain of fungus that appeared in Taiwain (TR4) can infect  as many as 80% of the varieties in cultivation. New solutions lie in stoppping growing genetic monocultures of bananas, using more varieties of bananas and interplanting them with other crops which might  can protect bananas against TR4. One study found that bananas planted in TR4-contaminated soils largely escaped infection after being grown in the same fields as Chinese leeks for three years. This seems to be because Chinese leeks release chemicals that kill fungi. Cassava also clears fields of TR4, Cassava seems to have  the same effect, perhaps because of antifungal substances prodiced by the cassva as well as microorganisms associated with its roots.  More evidence that biodiversty is necessary for resilence to pests and dieases.

No responses yet...