Science News

Banana fungus parasite arrives in Colombia

The entire banana industry is on alert after a serious banana plant disease has spread to Colombia, one of the largest banana producing countries in the world. The fact that even this disease, previously found only in crops in Asia, has reached even South America is rekindling local concerns regarding the production of one of the most consumed fruits in the world.

The producers fear for the Global market, currently too dependent on the Cavendish banana, a type of banana known for its durability during sea journeys and in general for its resistance after it has been harvested.

The disease is caused by the parasitic fungus Fusarium oxysporum which most likely came from Asian countries. In recent weeks, confirmation was expected regarding the spread of this fungus also in Latin America, and confirmation came precisely from the analyzes carried out on some crops in Colombia.

According to experts, this parasite could also haunt the Cavendish banana after the Gros Michel quality, also known as Big Mike banana, was literally devastated in the 1950s by another strain of the same parasite that is spreading again today.

But this time, compared to the 1950s when the entire production moved to Cavendish, there is no “backup” banana to bet on if Cavendish also disappears.