Banana Extinction, What?

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Here’s a jaw-dropper for you… Did you know that the bananas we know and love are in danger of extinction? I kid you not! That uniformly perfect fruit that we all rely on and is the favorite fruit of all Americans is being threatened by a fungus called the Panama. A similar set of events led to the eventual extinction of the banana crops which we used to eat up until the 1960s, these guys were known as the Gros Michel. The variety we eat today is the Cavendish, that’s right, only one variety, one single type. Which of course means, if we can’t figure out what how to stop the fungus from killing all the bananas or we can’t find another banana that is resistant to it, then bye bye to our favorite long yellow snack. The reason that Cavendish varieties began to be grown in the first place was because of their resistance to this Panama fungus, but now there is a new strain which is attacking and killing the very plant we thought was safe. Of course there is some research being done, but it would appear that the large banana-growing corporations (Chiquita, Dole, etc.) are not willing to invest in this at the present time, a great shame, since they’ll really feel it when they’re bottom line drops out in the relatively near future. I haven’t come across any estimates as to how long this extinction might take to occur, but here are a few news sources I looked at. This one is a KCRW Good Food podcast, and here’s a news article.

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3 Comments on “Banana Extinction, What?”


  1. Good post! This is the problem with agribusiness encouraging monoculture…

  2. Joe S. Says:

    Very interesting post. I do believe Watson and Crick, the two fellows who
    discovered the double helix of DNA, both warned about a lack of bio diversity.

    I am sorry I cannot quote chapter and verse but there is also seed banks in many parts of the world that save fruit and vegetable seeds that have lost popularity just for this reason.

    Thanks for bring this to our attention.

  3. Charles Nickalopoulos Says:

    This is sad news, as I depend on bananas to help me with leg cramps. The potassium in bananas can help prevent cramps in legs and feet. Also, the banana has fiber in it.

    Banana sandwiches are quite a treat to me; they are good on cereal, and in smoothies. It would be a shame not to have bananas.


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