Tropical Race 4 Virus Infects Cavendish Bananas in Asia and Australia

Tropical Race 4 Virus Infects Cavendish Bananas in Asia and Australia

Researchers have found that a virus similar to that of Panama Disease virus has attacked the Cavendish bananas in Asia and Australia. Panama Disease has been blamed for wiping out Gros Michel banana species.

The virus that has hit banana plantations in Asia and Australia is the Tropical Race 4. As per experts, the new virus works in the same way as that of Panama Disease virus, by attacking the plant and killing them entirely.

The virus is harmful both for public masses as well as the banana market as a whole because so far, there is no method that could help to combat this virus or containing it in any way. The Tropical Race 4 virus spread very quickly due to the fact that the market today focuses on monoculture bananas, in which we eat bananas that are clones of original bananas.

And because the bananas do not differ from one another from both a genetic and a structural viewpoint, the virus targets and infects all of them it manages to reach a plantation.

A similar event occurred in 1800 when the Panama Disease nearly wiped Gros Michel banana species, making them extinct from a commercial viewpoint. The Gros Michel was the most popular banana species of past centuries due to its sweetness and large fruit. It was exported all over the world from plantations in Latin America since the 1800s.

According to scientists, the only way to combat such a situation is an improved genetic diversity in bananas and dropping the idea of monoculture fruits, which are inherently susceptible to diseases due to their genetic stagnation.

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