A new strain of banana-killing fungus threatens to wipe out dominant breed


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Look at this banana, just look at it, ye mighty; and despair!


Just look at this banana-killing fungus. Just look at it.


Now even bananas aren’t safe! What’s the world coming to?


Just look at this problem, for scale.


Obviously, God is mad at us and is taking away the banana that He so perfectly designed for humans to eat.

We should give offerings to appease him. Maybe Nilla Wafers will work.


Amusingly, of course, today’s ‘perfectly designed’ banana is actually the inferior backup banana they introduced after the last merry game of ‘your fungal overlords crushing you like pitiful apes to punish your foolish reliance on a giant clonal monoculture’.

The ‘Gros Michel’ banana was massacred only ~60 years ago, with the Cavendish pressed into service as an emergency replacement. Now it is again time to reap the harvest…


Hah! This fungus knows far too much about bananas. Get him, guys!


There’s yer problem - looks like yer fungus evolved into a monkey. Once that’s happened, they get everywhere. That’s gonna need a specialist. Yer lookin’ at an extra 3 to 400 dollers there, easy.


Seems to me people were saying almost the exact same things seven years ago.


Would someone please give that little monkey kid a hug and tell him/her that things will be ok. That’s the saddest face I’ve seen in a long time.


I’m on it!


Just look at this passage from Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow which future generations may no longer be able to properly appreciate without a basis for comparison.

With a clattering of chairs, upended shell cases, benches, and ottomans, Pirate’s mob gather at the shores of the great refectory table, a southern island well across a tropic or two from chill Corydon Throsp’s mediaeval fantasies, crowded now over the swirling dark grain of its walnut uplands with banana omelets, banana sandwiches, banana casseroles, mashed bananas molded into the shape of a British lion rampant, blended with eggs into batter for French toast, squeezed out a pastry nozzle across the quivering creamy reaches of a banana blancmange to spell out the words C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre (attributed to a French observer during the Charge of the Light Brigade) which Pirate has appropriated as his motto… tall cruets of pale banana syrup to pour oozing over banana waffles, a giant glazed crock where diced bananas have been fermenting since the summer with wild honey and muscat raisins, up out of which, this winter morning, one now dips foam mugsfull of banana mead… banana croissants and banana kreplach, and banana oatmeal and banana jam and banana bread, and bananas flamed in ancient brandy Pirate brought back last year from a cellar in the Pyrenees also containing a clandestine radio transmitter…


Not everyone thinks we are facing bananageddon. See Banana Jim:



I really wish we had as much diversity in bananas as we do in apples and pears. Also, this fungus thing would be a non-issue if we had that kind of diversity. We could go back to panicking about honey bee die off…


They’ve been expecting/dreading this since the last time the preferred banana species got wiped out to the complete lack of genetic diversity that occurs in a clone population. Might not be this particular disease that does it, but it’s just a matter of time.


Hell, we don’t have nearly as much diversity in apples and pears as we should, though folks have been trying to fix that, in part because they saw what happened to bananas.


Red means it’s likely a cooking banana, although I’ve eaten them raw too. I prefer the smaller local apple bananas. We grow both apple and Cavendish bananas here, so why are they $1.29+/lb, whereas elsewhere they can be as cheap as 3 lb/$1.00? And in fact we seen to be importing them from Central America? WTF?


Apparently, the earlier strains did actually have slippery skins.
Bananas just aren’t funny anymore.


This was first reported almost 10 years ago. NPR covered it extensively 4 years ago. So what about this fungus is “new”?