As one of the top five staple foods in the world, bananas might soon become extinct due to an advancing fungal disease known as the Sigatoka complex. Agronomists fear that this disease could wipe out the world’s banana supply in the next 5-10 years.
The Sigatoka complex consists of three fungal diseases – black Sigatoka, yellow Sigatoka and eumusae leaf spot. They are lethal as they cripple the immune system and match the metabolism of the host plant. This means that the fungi can replicate enzymes to penetrate the plant’s cell walls, which enable it to feed on other carbohydrates and sugars.
The disease is forcing farmers need to step up and make 50 fungicide applications (annually) to their banana crops. Up to 35% of banana production expenditure is for fungicide applications. However, many farmers cannot afford this and end up either growing inferior quality bananas and switching to other crops.
How will the possible extinction of bananas impact global food supply?
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