One of the world’s top five staple foods may become extinct in just 5 to 10 years due to fast-advancing fungal diseases discovered recently.
According to researchers at the University of California about three fungal diseases that were discovered in bananas have now evolved into lethal threat to consumers, which could make most governments and institutions to completely ban the consumption of bananas.
“We have demonstrated that two of the three most serious banana fungal diseases have become more virulent by increasing their ability to manipulate the banana’s metabolic pathways and make use of its nutrients,” Ioannis Stergiopoulos said.
“This parallel change in metabolism of the pathogen and the host plant has been overlooked until now and may represent a ‘molecular fingerprint’ of the adaption process,” he said.
If the fungus advance, there will be no option but to completely ban the use, bringing down 100 million tonnes of bananas produced every year and millions of small scale farmers who depend on them.
The three fungal diseases diseases – yellow Sigatoka (Pseudocercospora musae), eumusae leaf spot (Pseudocercospora eumusae) and black Sigatoka (Pseudocercospora figiensis) -emerged as destructive pathogens in just the last century
Researchers discovered that this complex of diseases has become lethal to banana plants not just by shutting down the plant’s immune system but also by adapting the metabolism of the fungi to match that of the host plants.