Misplaced Fear

Currently the banana is in great peril to the numerous banana maladies facing it, such as Panama disease, Black Sigatoka, and Bunchy Top. The need to produce greater amounts on less land, as well as increased pesticide use to fight deadly banana illnesses continue to plague the industry. Its greatest threat however, addressed by Koeppel is the aversion to bioengineering, the banana’s lasting chance for survival. Because of the genetic makeup of a banana and its inability to reproduce on its own, let alone the issue of breeding the ideal banana to meet various criteria trademark to the fruit (duration of shelf life, hardiness, and of course flavor), it is wholly reliant upon human assistance in continuing efforts to create a disease resistant banana that will outlast its predecessor (prior to the Cavendish variety, was the Gros Michel). In Westernized cultures, many loved recipes and treats use bananas: in developing and third world nations bananas are the sole source of sustenance. Finding the desired banana is equivalent to finding buried treasure at sea. It requires enormous patience and years of trial and error. Fortunately there are labs and scientists who are committed to the cause of ensuring banana’s longterm existence. However, what has hindered these efforts is not directly anyone’s fault but in misaligning the dangers of bioengineering and applying this information to all types of food.

In order to successfully breed an ideal banana meeting all the above requirements, is to approve of biotechnology and its benefit to bananas. Only recently has Uganda allowed for engineered bananas to be tested outside labs and greenhouses, but on only a few acres of land. As banana scientist and researcher Rony Swennen explains, “bananas need biotechnology,” especially of the Cavendish and its survival. “I don’t see any other way to save it.” Undeniably this is a difficult dilemma, in using controversial methods in order to secure bananas from becoming obsolete. Since testing bio-engineered, genetically modified bananas outside labs or greenhouses is not allowed, implicates that the tremendous scientific work involved are only backup measures. Treating the efforts of banana scientists as mere emergency means may lead to disastrous, worldwide consequences. Whether their efforts will produce an upcoming “perfect fruit” only time will tell, yet in the meantime the maladies continue to beset bananas very existence, let alone the preservation of the world’s most important, not so simple fruit.

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One response to “Misplaced Fear

  1. I have visited Costa Rica and must say that there is a big difference between the bananas you can get there and here in the USA. The flavor and consistency is SO much better there.

    The reason is probably because they pick and ship the bananas green so when they get here they will be ripe. This makes sense but it makes a very different banana that is, sadly, inferior.

    In my opinion, eat local whenever possible and eat fruit that was picked when it was ripe because it will have tons more nutrients. Bananas are not the only source of potassium. Have you tried organic potato skins?

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