Brace yourselves, readers, because we’ve got some news to share that’s going to affect all of us who spend the better half of our afternoons dreaming of bananas slathered in almond butter.
According to a new study in PLOS Pathogens, some of the largest banana crops in the world are facing extinction due to a fungus called Panama Disease. The fungus, which was responsible for wiping out full breeds of bananas in the 1800s and 1960s, has evolved into a stronger strain, called Tropical Race 4. (Hey Hollywood: I’ve got a blockbuster screenplay to sell you, with the franchise name ready to go—Bananapocalypse.)
This new strain “has jumped continents, ravaging crops in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia,” reports Quartz. And the PLOS experts say the fungi will likely make its way to Latin America, where three-fifths of the world’s bananas are grown.
Before you start blending and freezing an endless supply of Chunky Monkey smoothies, keep in mind that the seemingly inevitable wipe-out won’t happen overnight; it took 50 years for the fungus to kill off the Gors Michel breed in the 1960s.
The difference now, though, is that we eat a whole lot more of the yellow fruit than we did back then. So we won’t judge if this news makes you go a little…bananas. —Sarah Sarway
Better make these 6 banana-centric (and healthy!) desserts before it’s too late…
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