July 18, 2013
Reminder: Fruit Is Even More Awesome Than Your Supermarket Aisles Indicate

There are more than a thousand banana species in the world, but you’ve probably only ever tasted one. The Cavendish banana is the one we know and love. It’s the one the international banana economy is based on—the only species that’s exported from one country to another, anywhere in the world. But its extinction is coming.
That’s because we’ve bred the Cavendish to be seedless. No hard black seeds in our delicious banana flesh means banana trees only reproduce asexually, with human intervention. So all Cavendish palms are genetically nearly identical, making them highly susceptible to disease. The Panama Disease Race Four fungus attacks the roots, leaves, and vascular system of banana trees. As it mutates it becomes a more and more efficient killer. The Cavendish banana, meanwhile, is a genetic sitting duck. Sometime in the next decade (scientists have no way to predict the exact timing), experts say, the fungus will become perfectly evolved to attack the Cavendish, and will quickly spread to wipe out the banana stock worldwide. All this happened once before—the banana the whole world once knew was a different and by all accounts bigger and tastier species. Over the course of several decades, a previous strain of the fungus attacked and wiped it out, and with it the worldwide banana industry, before the Cavendish came along in the 1960s to resurrect it.
This is one of several stories told over the course of Fruit Hunters, a documentary by Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang that screened this past weekend at Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and is available now for streaming and download.
Read more. [Image: Eye Steel Film]

Reminder: Fruit Is Even More Awesome Than Your Supermarket Aisles Indicate

There are more than a thousand banana species in the world, but you’ve probably only ever tasted one. The Cavendish banana is the one we know and love. It’s the one the international banana economy is based on—the only species that’s exported from one country to another, anywhere in the world. But its extinction is coming.

That’s because we’ve bred the Cavendish to be seedless. No hard black seeds in our delicious banana flesh means banana trees only reproduce asexually, with human intervention. So all Cavendish palms are genetically nearly identical, making them highly susceptible to disease. The Panama Disease Race Four fungus attacks the roots, leaves, and vascular system of banana trees. As it mutates it becomes a more and more efficient killer. The Cavendish banana, meanwhile, is a genetic sitting duck. Sometime in the next decade (scientists have no way to predict the exact timing), experts say, the fungus will become perfectly evolved to attack the Cavendish, and will quickly spread to wipe out the banana stock worldwide. All this happened once before—the banana the whole world once knew was a different and by all accounts bigger and tastier species. Over the course of several decades, a previous strain of the fungus attacked and wiped it out, and with it the worldwide banana industry, before the Cavendish came along in the 1960s to resurrect it.

This is one of several stories told over the course of Fruit Hunters, a documentary by Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang that screened this past weekend at Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and is available now for streaming and download.

Read more. [Image: Eye Steel Film]

  1. hdhargrove reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Just watched this & I loved it.
  2. estecate reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. bogcybe reblogged this from iontha
  4. gotthatglitteronmyeyes reblogged this from flowerfood
  5. annaphaze reblogged this from flowerfood
  6. haunted-byreality reblogged this from flowerfood
  7. iontha reblogged this from flowerfood
  8. flowerfood reblogged this from fruitilove
  9. 602026 reblogged this from brachycephalic
  10. isatresleches reblogged this from pensamiento-serpentino
  11. thisguy12 reblogged this from metaphysical-thinker
  12. rottedwood reblogged this from pensamiento-serpentino
  13. moderate-balance reblogged this from metaphysical-thinker
  14. pensamiento-serpentino reblogged this from cosmicspread
  15. forwardinthevoid reblogged this from cosmicspread
  16. shmernie reblogged this from metaphysical-thinker
  17. brachycephalic reblogged this from cosmicspread
  18. metaphysical-thinker reblogged this from cosmicspread
  19. cosmicspread reblogged this from fruitilove
  20. fruitilove reblogged this from theatlantic