Plant pathologists unpeel rumors of banana extinction

Will bananas really become extinct within the next decade? Not likely says a plant pathologist with the American Phytopathological Society (APS). The plant pathologist is speaking out in response to an article that recently appeared in New Scientist depicting possible extinction due to the impact of two diseases, Black Sigatoka and Panama disease, on the global production of bananas. “Diseases are, and will remain, major constraints to both export and subsistence production of banana, and there is no doubt that Black Sigatoka and Panama disease constitute the most important threats,” said Randy C. Ploetz, Professor at the University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center. “However, it is unlikely that these problems will cause production to decrease greatly in the next decade, let alone that the crop will become extinct,” said Ploetz.