Banana plantations around the world are under attack for the second time in the past 100 years by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum cubense (Panama disease). The disease causes a banana tree’s leaves to wilt and curl which soon leads to the death of the tree.
This article tells the fascinating story of how the worldwide banana industry switched in the 1950s from the then ubiquitous but susceptible to Panama disease Gros Michel banana variety to the somewhat less flavourful and more delicate but immune Cavendish variety. Unfortunately, history is in the process of repeating itself as the Cavendish variety is now under increasing threat by a different strain of Panama disease . . .