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Posted: June 05, 2015

Bananas have a new threat that's being called a 'big nightmare'

By Zach Dennis

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

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There may not be money in the banana stand anymore.

According to Bloomberg Business, a new threat started to show up in bananas, which has the ability to wipe out global harvests. The site says that “a type of Fusarium wilt appeared this year in Australia’s main banana-growing state after spreading to Asia and Africa.”

This fungus has been around since the 1990s and has yet to affect top exporter Ecuador, but according to Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., it could be a potential “big nightmare.”

This new fungus, also referred to as Panama disease Tropical Race 4 (TR4), was first seen in the type of bananas called the Cavendish, at farms in the Philippines, China, and parts of Africa before showing up in Queensland, Australia where about 90 percent of the country’s production is.

According to Bloomberg, TR4 “enters the plant’s roots and invades the vascular tissue.”

“The first symptom is irregular yellowing of older leaves," Bloomberg reported, "which later turn brown and dry out. The disease poses no threat to humans.”

Growers from across Latin America met in March, and plan to meet again in September or October, but right now don’t have any regional measures in place.

The site adds that “the strain is easily spread by people -- through dirt on shoes, tires on trucks, shipping containers or other infected equipment -- as well as through rain, floods and run-off water.”

Read more at Bloomberg Business.


Stephen Pond


Stephen Pond


BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 6: Bananas at an aid station during the Challenge Triathlon Barcelona on October 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

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