The banana, a healthy fruit is in danger of extinction

The banana is the most popular fruit in the world. In the Netherlands, the banana is one of the many types of fruit to choose from. However, in many other countries in the world, a job is a staple diet. The banana is an export product. Due to the export of the banana, the banana is also the most important means of livelihood in these export countries. Approximately 100 million tons of bananas are consumed worldwide every year. This makes the banana the most traded agricultural product, after coffee beans, cocoa beans and grain. However, experts expect that banana consumption will decline sharply. The sharp decrease will be due to the increase in fungal diseases. The banana is expected to be completely extinct before 2025 due to fungal diseases. To combat the process of fungal diseases, scientists from Wageningen University are trying to find a solution to the threat of banana extinction at an accelerated pace.

Banana plant or banana tree

A banana is an elongated and slightly curved fruit. The banana grows in bunches of approximately 50 kilograms on the banana plant. Depending on its type and growing environment, a banana plant can grow to a height of three to twelve meters. The special thing about a banana plant is that the plant produces a pseudo stem. A stem of overlapping, wing-like broadened leaf stems. Because of this trunk, people often speak of a track tree instead of a track plant.

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According to earlier Buddhist scriptures, the banana originated in the sixth century BC. Commercial banana production reportedly began in Costa Rica around 1871. In the 21st century, hundreds of kilos of bananas are shipped around the world every day due to banana exports.

Jobs healthy or unhealthy?

The banana is the most popular fruit in the world. The banana is also very popular in the Netherlands. The track is the most consumed fruit in the Netherlands after the apple and the orange. Yet many people have a negative image of the banana. Many think that the banana is an unhealthy fruit. A fruit that should also be seen as a fattener. Reports about this are regularly published in the media. These messages often advise not to eat more than one banana per week. This well-intentioned advice is unjustified and not scientifically substantiated. The banana may contain more calories compared to many other fruits, but the banana is packed with healthy fiber and nutrients. This means that the banana can be eaten daily and be seen as a responsible snack. (More information about the health effects of the banana can be read in the article: Diet and banana.)

The banana is in danger of extinction

If no action is taken, there is a good chance that the world’s most consumed fruit will be completely eradicated. Two persistent fungal diseases, the Black Sigatoka and the Panama disease, cause the death of many banana plants. To date, only a cure has been found against the Black Sigatoka. However, to combat this fungus, spraying is required approximately sixty times a year. However, spraying is highly polluting to the environment.

Panama disease

The Panama disease currently appears to be the greatest threat to banana cultivation. Panama disease is caused by a soil fungus that completely kills the web plants. Once this soil fungus is in the soil, the fungus remains alive for up to 30 years and bananas can no longer be grown in that location.

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Scientific research
At the University of Wageningen, researchers are working rapidly to find a solution to the problem of Panama disease. This solution could be finding a pesticide or growing a resistant banana. A lot of money is needed for this research. However, according to Wageningen University, there is not enough money available from public institutions to develop resistant bananas. That is why the university now focuses mainly on private investors.

Will there be a solution in time?

Experts expect that the soil fungus that causes Panama disease will take about ten years to spread worldwide. This would mean that the job plant will be completely eradicated around 2025. Researchers from the University of Wageningen have already indicated that it will be a race against time. A race against time if they want to find a solution against this fungal disease before 2025.