News and analysis

Putting news on bananas in context

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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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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Assessing the impact of improved varieties of banana in East Africa

Anne Vézina Thursday, 02 December 2010
Cover of the International Food Policy report
A new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute highlights the findings from a set of studies to assess the economic impact of improved banana cultivars and management practices.
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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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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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A Gros Michel success story

Anne Vézina Saturday, 01 November 2008
Gros Michel bananas growing at the Luki Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Once the mainstay of the export trade until Fusarium wilt made its cultivation in large-scale plantations impossible, Gros Michel has found a niche in Congolese man-made forests near the border with Angola.
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