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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Crop Production and Pest Control Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354719

Research Project: Molecular Mechanisms of Host-Fungal Pathogen Interactions in Cereal Crops

Location: Crop Production and Pest Control Research

Title: How can we protect bananas?

item Arango Isaza, Raphael - Universidad Del Rosario, Columbia
item Diaz-trujillo, Caucasella - Plant Research International - Netherlands
item Dhillon, Braham - University Of British Columbia
item Goodwin, Stephen - Steve
item Kema, Gert - Plant Research International - Netherlands

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2018
Publication Date: 6/12/2018
Citation: Arango Isaza, R.E., Diaz-Trujillo, C., Dhillon, B., Goodwin, S.B., Kema, G. 2018. How can we protect bananas? Biomedical Science Journal for Teens. Available:

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: A fungal disease, called Black Sigatoka, is threatening banana crops worldwide. The reason for this is the lack of genetic diversity in commercial bananas - the Cavendish - as all of these bananas are clones. So any disease that can kill one of them can kill them all. And this is the case with Black Sigatoka. Farmers can protect their crops by applying chemicals that kill fungi but this raises production costs and is bad for the environment. To better understand the problem, we explored the relationship between bananas and its pathogen. We found that due to continuous chemical spraying, most of the tested strains of the fungus that causes Black Sigatoka have developed resistance to the chemicals that are supposed to control them. We showed that wild resistant bananas carry resistance genes to Black Sigatoka that work by detecting a specific protein in the fungus. This is a very exciting discovery: disease resistance genes could be used to save the banana industry.