History of Banana and Revival of Banana (DTE 15 - 31 September 2020)

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History of Banana

  • World՚s oldest domesticated crop.
  • Descended from 2 wild varieties: Musa acuminata & Musa balbisiana from SE Asia and contained hard seeds.
  • Propagation: sexually by seeds and asexually by suckers
  • 10,000 random mutations led to seedless banana
  • 65 % cavendish; 20 % traditional and 320 other varieties on small scale.
  • Most consumed and traded fruit
  • Plantations are filled with genetically identical clones, produced in laboratories. They have a uniform cultivation cycle, produce identical fruits and, in case of an infestation, get simultaneously wiped out
  • Cavendish accounts for over 41 % of bananas grown worldwide, and for 60 % in top producing countries
  • Australia in 2018 – strict biosecurity and prevented foreign soil from entering & infested farms were fenced and quarantined
  • Colombia (spread seen in La Guajira, Colombia) is the fourth largest exporter of banana. The government declared it a national emergency. Its neighbours closed borders with it. Together, Latin America and the Caribbean are the world՚s largest exporting region, particularly catering to the demand of EU and the US.

Revival of Banana

  • Trichoderma EC acts as a bio fungicide against TR4. By creating an envelope round the roots, it first checks the entry of TR4 hyphae into the plant՚s vascular system – triggers immune response to release anti-fungal chemical to inhibit growth
  • Developed jointly by Central Soil Salinity Research Institute & Central Institute of Sub-tropical Horticulture – revived 110 ha in Bihar & UP
  • Also, bio-immunization like vaccination for plants by injecting bioactive components into plant tissues during tissue culture
  • China: 5 resistant varieties developed by Chemical mutagenesis – varieties ZJ4 and Baxi have shown complete resistance.
  • Chemical mutagenesis – scientists use chemicals, gamma rays, or X-rays to speed up the natural process of mutation and create plants with random mutations
  • Philippines is also in advanced stages of developing resistant varieties using mutagene-sis through gamma irradiation
  • Australia - field trial of the trans-genic cavendish on land infected with TR4 in northern Australia
  • Dole Food Company, one of the world՚s top banana suppliers & Elo Life Systems, a US food and agriculture firm - gene editing technology, a homing endonuclease-based platform found naturally in primitive plants and algae — to cut out faulty DNA or insert new genetic material
  • UK - developing varieties resistant to Panama disease. It will be commercially available in 3 - 4 years. Gene editing induced gene silencing technique
  • The EU has restrictive rules against GM crops. Recently, it has said it will treat gene-edited crops and organisms obtained by mutagenesis at par with GMOs
  • Commercial plants are genetically identical and cannot defend themselves against Panama disease. Even if uber-bananas get to rule the market for a while, they would be clones of each other and knocked out by any other pathogen.

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