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Bananas May Go Extinct Soon, and Climate Change is to Be Blamed

Climate change has increased a fungal disease called Black Sigatoka, which affects the crop of bananas, essentially rendering them unfit for consumption.

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:May 11, 2019, 9:40 AM IST

Climate change is real, irrespective of what Donald Trump would have you believe, and its leading to a slow-dying out of a lot of things that exist in nature.

One in four species are at a threat of extinction, and the reason behind it is one major contributing factor: changing climate patterns. This also stands true for a very ordinary fruit that is commonly available: bananas.

Bananas may be one of the species which go extinct, finds a new research. Climate change has increased a fungal disease called Black Sigatoka, which affects the crop of bananas, essentially rendering them unfit for consumption.

The study, conducted by the University of Exeter, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, finds that changes to moisture and temperature conditions have increased the risk of Black Sigatoka by more than 44% in areas like Latin America and the Caribbean since the 1960s.

“Black Sigatoka is caused by a fungus whose lifecycle is strongly determined by weather and climate. Climate change has made temperatures better for spore germination and growth and made crop canapies wetter,” said Daniel Bebber, who is one of researchers.

How the study was conducted was that it combined experimental data on Black Sigatoka infections, and detailed data on climate information over the last 60 years. Black Sigatoka, which is deadly for a wide range of banana plants, was first reported in Honduras in 1972.

The fungus, called Pseudocercospora fijiensis in Latin, spreads via aerial spores, infecting banana leaves and causing streaked lesions and cell death when fungal toxins are exposed to light.

While there is little to no chance all species will be wiped out, some species are under threat and global output could decline considerably as a result of climate change, the study further found.

The study, however, did not attempt to predict the future effects of climate change would have on the spread and impact of this disease.

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