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CNN talks to Bioversity International about 'Panama disease' in bananas

Bioversity International/B.Sthapit

Article by CNN highlights impacts in the market and features an interview with Bioversity International scientist to talk about alternatives against Fusarium wilt, also known as Panama disease, as a new strain of the disease is now affecting Cavendish bananas.

CNN Money featured an interview with Bioversity International scientist Inge Van den Bergh last month, to point out the alternatives against Fusarium wilt, also known as Panama disease. Such disease is caused by a fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense that affects bananas by entering the plant through the roots and eventually killing it. A new strain of the disease, called Tropical Race 4 (TR4), is now affecting Cavendish banana - the type grown for the international market. 

Van den Bergh explains that spontaneously ‘mutant’ Cavendish bananas that are TR4-resistant, are being tested in the Philippines and China and could offer an alternative to the commercial Cavendish variety. This new variety can be suitable for the export market and help smallholders manage TR4.

Banana is also one of the most important staple food crops throughout tropical and subtropical countries, providing a source of income and nutrition for hundreds of millions of people living in poverty. 

Bioversity International’s banana scientists have expertise in: genomics, ex situ conservation, cryopreservation, pest and disease management, agroecological intensification, value chains, knowledge sharing and information systems.

 Read the full article on CNN here.