The Cavendish banana species that is most commonly eaten is under threat from lethal fungus and insect pests. The nasty fungus has spread to banana crops in Africa and is now in the Middle East. The Cavendish banana accounts for over 80 percent of bananas that are currently eaten today. Sadly, this fungal disease has already struck within the countries of Australia, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia. Latin America seems to be on the hit list for a new possible country that is bound to be affected by this blight disease soon.
Fusarium oxysporum is the strain of soil fungus that is attacking these delicious bananas, and leaving the whole plant and fruit smelling like putrid garbage. It is actually turning their tissues into brown, black and red colors. If scientists do not figure out a way to wipe out this banana blight disease, we could be left with only a few more costly and less common species of banana to eat. Until scientists somehow develop a stronger species of banana, a shortage is going to happen in American supermarkets soon sadly.
Besides this nasty blight disease, a variety of insect pests have also been attacking our well-known banana crops. Costa Rica has actually declared a ‘banana emergency’ due to mealy bugs and scale insects that are killing the plants. Recently, Costa Rica’s Director of Agriculture, Magda González stated within a new Scientific American report that climate changes seem to be a huge factor in the threat of the Cavendish bananas.
The Department of Agriculture mentioned that bananas are actually the most popular fruit of most Americans, compared to apples, strawberries, grapes, watermelon and other varieties of fruit that are consumed daily. So when the most commonly eaten bananas are under threat, what can be done? Researchers are currently panicking, while trying to come up with a solution to this devastating problem before the crops are taken out by the fungi and insect pests.
Bananas provide a huge source of about 450 mg of potassium that is needed for human health. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the fruit is pure and safe enough to be used as a baby’s first solid food. Bananas are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, making the fruit a perfect heart healthy choice to eat. They are also a great source of dietary fiber, manganese, vitamins C and B6.
Bananas also harness a variety of alternative health prospects that may help with certain health problems. An amino-acid called tryptophan is contained in these bananas and is converted into serotonin by the human brain. This serotonin source may help improve mood, such as depression. Bananas have been known to possibly help with constipation or diarrhea problems due to their high fiber content. When it comes down to anemia difficulties, it can help to eat more bananas because of the high iron content. The yellow fruits may also help with blood pressure problems, again because of the high potassium they hold within their white flesh. There seems to be a never-ending list of probable natural health therapies that these bananas may help with. So, with the most commonly eaten bananas under threat, scientists really do need to find a way to save this favorite, healthy fruit from disappearing from our breakfast tables.
By Tina Elliott