News and analysis

Putting news on bananas in context

Xanthomonas wilt gets the sequencing treatment

Anne Vézina Saturday, 05 March 2011
Taking advantage of the technological developments that make sequencing genomes increasingly affordable, scientists compared the genome of the causal agent of Xanthomonas wilt with the one of a closely related strain.
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Bananas of origin

Anne Vézina Thursday, 24 February 2011
Costa Rica cleared the first hurdle to obtain a protected geographical status for its bananas. An example for other banana-producing countries?
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A new threat to Cavendish bananas?

Anne Vézina Monday, 21 February 2011
The Cavendish bananas that developed Fusarium wilt following infection with a race 1 strain were grown under good conditions.
The discovery in India of Cavendish bananas developing symptoms of Fusarium wilt as a result of being infected with a race 1 strain is as perplexing as it is worrisome.
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Taking stock of banana breeding

Anne Vézina Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Ivan W. Buddenhagen’s introduction to a new book on the progresses made in breeding bananas. The book covers all aspects of breeding and genetics, including biotechnology.
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Creation of a forum for stakeholders of the banana industry

Anne Vézina Wednesday, 05 January 2011
Latino forum
The World Banana Forum was launched last December at the headquarters of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome to provide a permanent space for stakeholders to discuss the challenges facing the banana industry.
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The end of the ‘banana wars’?

Anne Vézina Tuesday, 04 January 2011
Banana war cartoon
After more than 16 years of at times heated debate, an agreement has finally been concluded between the European Union and Latin American banana suppliers regarding the EU trading regime for fresh dessert bananas.
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GM banana trials in Uganda

Anne Vézina Monday, 03 January 2011
Field-testing of genetically modified (GM) bananas, in Uganda
With the field-testing of genetically modified (GM) bananas, Uganda takes another step towards developing its own transgenic crops.
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Usage trumps priority

Anne Vézina Sunday, 02 January 2011
Velutina rosacea
Two Finnish botanists try to set the record straight on the names Musa balbisiana and Musa velutina.
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Black leaf streak disease lands in Martinique

Anne Vézina Tuesday, 28 December 2010
The wind-borne fungal disease commonly known as black Sigatoka is continuing its steady progression through the Caribbean region.
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Mystery cultivar from Oman

Anne Vézina Wednesday, 01 September 2010
Surveys in a recently abandoned oasis unearths a previously undescribed cultivar of Musa acuminata origin.
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Catching up with Fusarium wilt

Anne Vézina Sunday, 02 May 2010
The soil-borne fungus causes disease by invading the vascular system.
Most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before the Fusarium wilt strain known as tropical race 4 escapes from Asia and reaches Latin America and Africa. The recent development of a rapid and reliable diagnostic test that can be used on plant and soil samples should make it harder for the fungal strain to spread undetected.
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The Linnean Society honours Markku Hakkinen

Anne Vézina Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Markku Hakkinen, a self-taught botanist who is now considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the taxonomy of Musa, received the HH Bloomer award given to an amateur naturalist for an important contribution to biological knowledge.
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Scientists produce fuel using parts of the banana plant

Anne Vézina Monday, 01 June 2009
Briquettes made from banana peels
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have developed an easy-to-use method to produce briquettes from banana skins, stems and leaves.
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Svalbard by the Mediterranean

Anne Vézina Thursday, 05 March 2009
Research carried out at KULeuven has provided an extra level of insurance to the conservation effort by developing methods that allow all kinds of banana to be safely conserved in liquid nitrogen. At these ultra-low temperatures, so-called ‘cryopreservation’ arrests both the growth of plant cells and all processes of biological deterioration, so that the material can be preserved, safely and cost-effectively, and resuscitated into fully viable banana plants. Most of the banana collection has been safely stored away in liquid nitrogen and, as yet further insurance, a duplicate set is kept at a separate location. The expertise developed in the process has led to the recognition of KULeuven as a centre of excellence in cryopreservation. (Photo Bart Panis)
While the Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrates its first anniversary, banana scientists can take comfort in the thought that their favourite crop is also safely backed up, in France.
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Mixing bananas and coffee for better returns

Anne Vézina Monday, 02 March 2009
A study shows that Ugandan farmers growing coffee and bananas together are better off than those who grow each crop in monocultures.
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