Banana faces extinction threat, warns pathologist

Banana, perhaps the world’s favourite and highest selling fruit, could be extinct within a decade, warns a new study.

The threat could be coming from something called the Sigatoka complex, made up from three fungal diseases, which pose a huge risk to the world’s banana supply, Xinhua news agency reported quoting from a British-based journal PLOS Genetics in a report published on Tuesday.

American plant pathologist Ioannis Stergiopoulos said in the report that the Sigatoka complex’s fungal diseases — yellow Sigatoka, eumusae leaf spot and black Sigatoka — could potentially wipe out supply in the next five to 10 years.

Black Sigatoka poses the greatest risk, capable of not only shutting down the immune system of the banana, but also producing enzymes to break down the plant’s cell walls.

Almost 140 million tonnes of the fruit are produced across the world every year with India — producing almost 25 million tonnes annually — leading among the 10 major producers globally.

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