Friday, May 25, 2007

Chinese Killer Bananas

It never occured to me that bananas would come from a Chinese source. The killer bananas from Hainan, may seem like a joke... but why are the bananas sick? Common food hygene is that you do not eat food that is diseased. This is just common sense. Who wants to eat a diseased banana, even if it is safe to eat? I hope my bio-bananas are free of don't worry its safe disease.

Panama-disease-contracted Bananas Edible
The bananas which have contracted Panama disease are safe to eat, said the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. An official with the ministry said the banana is a major cash plant in south China and has won good reputation among consumers.

He said the country has grown 260,000 hectares of bananas and produces nearly 7 million tons every year, ranking third in the world. Ninety percent of the bananas are of find breed, said the official. The ministry has sent experts to major banana producing areas to investigate the epidemic situation and help farmers to prevent the disease, he said.

Panama disease, also called Banana Wilt, is a devastating disease caused by a soil-inhabiting fungus species. It is widespread in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and many other regions. So far, the world has no effective cure for the disease.

What is Panama disease?
Panama disease is a serious disease of bananas caused by the Fusarium wilt fungus, which spreads with soil and water movement, and also with infected planting material.

How is it controlled?
Prompt detection is essential, and affected plants must be destroyed because the disease cannot be cured. There are strict quarantine regulations to prevent spread of infected material to clean areas through movement of soil, water or plant materials.

Panama disease, also known as Fusarium wilt, is a banana plant disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The fungus attacks the roots of the banana plant. The disease is resistant to fungicide and, so, cannot be controlled chemically.

Biological warfare?
Interest in Fusarium oxysporum as a pesticide was first raised after the discovery in the 1960s that it was the causative agent in the destruction of the Hawaiian coca population. The United States government was involved in a controversial program to use Fusarium oxysporum for the eradication of coca in Colombia and other Andean countries, but these plans were cancelled by president Bill Clinton who was concerned that the unilateral use of a biological agent would be perceived by the rest of the world as biological warfare. The Andean nation have since banned its use throughout the region. Use of biological agents to kill crops is potentially illegal under the Biological Weapons Convention.

If the disease cannot be killed with a fungicide - just think about it - then why should people eat the bananas? Not only that! If people don't want to eat bananas, then who is to tell them they have got to eat them? It may be that in the future most people will stop eating meat. Global trade is just going to have to adapt and live with it. If the bananas are infected with fungus spores? I sure would not eat them.

Does it pose a threat to human health?
Agent Green: Eradicating Drug Crops Using Fusarium Fusarium oxysporum is can cause life threatening infections in humans with a weakened immune system. Invasive Fusarium infections are an emerging disease with a mortality rates up to 70%. Fusarium is known to cause serious dermal and eye infections.