Are Bananas Becoming Extinct ?
The banana, one of the world's most popular fruits, is in danger of becoming extinct. Scientists have found that a virus has been attacking Cavendish bananas, the most widely-eaten banana, in Asia and Australia for some years. At the moment there is no way to fight off the disease. Because bananas are grown in plantations , a disease can attack all of the bananas of the same kind. It spreads through infected plants, soil and water.
The new virus is similar to the Panama disease which wiped out certain types of bananas in the 1800s. The disease attacks the banana plant and kills it off completely. Scientists fear that the new virus called Tropical Race 4, a mutation of the Panama disease, will eventually spread to Latin America, where most of the world's bananas are produced.It has already destroyed whole plantations in south-east Asia and northern Australia.
Although Tropical Race 4 has been around for some decades , it has spread more quickly in the past few years. Currently, food experts are trying to contain the disease and stop it from spreading to other continents. Millions of people around the world rely on the banana as a source of food. About 12 % of the world's banana production of over 140 million tons are exported .
The Panama disease kills off whole banana plants- Image:Scott Nelson
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- attack = hit
- completely = totally, all of them
- contain = stop something from spreading
- currently = now, at the moment
- decade = ten years
- destroy = damage something so badly that it does not exist any more
- disease = illness
- eventually = slowly, in the end
- extinct = to die out and not exist any more
- infected = plants or animals that have viruses in them
- mutation = a change in the genetic structure of an animal or plant that makes it different from the others
- plantation = large area in a tropical or subtropical country where only one product is grown
- popular = much-liked
- rely = depend on, need
- scientist = person who has studied science and works in a lab
- similar = like
- source = place where something comes from
- spread = move from one place to another
- virus = very small living thing that can cause a disease
- widely-eaten = eaten by many people
- wipe out = destroy completely