Who else loves bananas? Hopefully we do not run out of the fruits in the nearest future. The edible bananas we consume is cavendish and it is vulnerable to plant pest.
The key to protecting these edible bananas lies with Madagascan bananas which is also known as wild bananas.
Of recent, scientists say the Madagascan banana plant which is only found in Madagascar is a very important plant but it’s on the verge of extinction as there are only 5 mature plants left in the wild. The fruits of the wild banana plants have seeds and are considered unpleasant to eat. Conserving the wild banana plants is crucial so as to keep edible bananas safe and free from disease in the future.
Currently, Cavendish banana plants are under threat from a fungus spreading across the Asian continent. It is easy for the disease to spread because bananas are clones which makes them the same. Once it affects a plant it can easily spread throughout the banana plantation. Genetically, wild and edible bananas are identical which makes the edible ones unable to resist the disease. However, experiments have been going on to develop other varieties of edible bananas. This hopes to produce plants that can survive the attack of disease spreading across the plants.
Scientists have now put the Madagascan banana on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s extinction watch list, so they can have time to analyse its complete genetic information.
According to Richard Allen from Kew Gardens, they need to do more research so as to get more genetic information and see if there is a specie that could avoid the fungus.