Links to online news on bananas

Controlled atmosphere

Wednesday, 07 December 2011
An eye-opening behind-the-scene look at one of New York City’s banana ripening outfit.

More Fusarium worries

Thursday, 01 December 2011
While TR4 continues its spread in the Philippines and calls for the creation of a banana research institute intensify, consumers in banana-importing countries worry about losing their breakfast banana.

Photoperiod matters

Monday, 28 November 2011
The growth of banana plants is more sensitive to photoperiod than previously believed, according to a study published in Functional Plant Biology. The authors analysed data from Puerto Rico, Ivory Coast, New South Wales in Australia and South Africa.

Radio tagging weevils reveals their weaknesses

Thursday, 24 November 2011
CIRAD scientists tracked the movements of weevils to simulate how they attack their host. The computer model can then be used to test which agricultural practice is most likely to halt the banana pest in its tracks.

Banana from Costa Rica obtains registration

Tuesday, 22 November 2011
The geographical indication Banano de Costa Rica has been registered under the Lisbon Agreement administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration offers a means of obtaining protection for an AO in the contracting parties to the Lisbon Agreement (27 countries as of 14 October 2011) through a single registration.

Coffee-banana intercropping spreads to Rwanda

Friday, 28 October 2011
Farmers in Rwanda are experimenting with intercropping bananas and coffee in a bid to make a better living.

Cross-crop fertilization

Tuesday, 18 October 2011
An article in SciDev.net reports that trials done in Egypt have shown that bean, corn and maize crops fertilized with compost made with banana plant residues had better yields and required less water than when other fertilizers were used. In Egypt, where banana plants are usually burned after harvest to make way for another crop, this alternative practice would allow for plants infected with the banana bunchy top virus to be recycled into compost since it would not be used on banana plants.

Yesterday’s fruit?

Monday, 25 July 2011
In a transcribed interview to the US National Public Radio Dan Koeppel, the author of Bananas: The fate of the fruit that changed the world, explains why the export industry is so committed to the Cavendish. But consumers in banana-importing countries are not the only ones eating Cavendish. Half of the bananas grown in the world are Cavendish, of which less than a third are traded internationally. In an article in Saveur, the American author wonders whether a successor to the Cavendish is lurking among the other half.

Carbon footprint of Dole bananas

Wednesday, 06 July 2011
Dole announced the launch a new Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability website that includes a section on the carbon footprint of its bananas.

Suckers get the boiling treatment

Friday, 15 April 2011
IITA scientists developed an alternative to soaking suckers in 50°C water to kill nematodes and weevils: dip them in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. The boiling treatment does away with the need to measure the temperature with a thermometer.

Bananas and potassium

Wednesday, 06 April 2011
A study confirms the beneficial role of eating bananas to prevent strokes.

Banana peel can help remove heavy metals from water

Thursday, 17 March 2011
Scientists from Brazil have published a study exploring the ability of banana peel to extract lead and copper from water. This ability to gather together trace amounts of copper and lead could also be used to make the metals easier to detect, according to an American environmental engineer speaking to an Australian media.

European Parliament ratifies trade agreement

Thursday, 10 February 2011
One of the longest running trade disputes formally came to an end when the European Parliament an agreement between the EU and Latin American banana producing countries over tariff policies.

The New Yorker magazine reports on TR4

Monday, 10 January 2011
New Yorker reporter Mike Peed writes about the tropical race 4 strain that affects Cavendish bananas in southeast Asia and northern Australia and the efforts of Australian scientists to produce resistant bananas. The story is behind a pay wall but you can watch a video narrated by the journalist.

Crop tool for Africa

Thursday, 11 November 2010
The FAO launched a quick reference calendar covering 43 African countries and more than 130 crops, including bananas. The web-based tool provides information on the best time to plant a crop by agro-ecological zone.

Efforts underway to rescue Pacific banana

Thursday, 21 October 2010
The Global Crop Diversity Trust is coordinating efforts to put in long-term conservationindigenous crops that could be used to address health problems created by an over reliance on imported foods. Meanwhile, Slow Food Miami nominated the Pacific banana Hua Moa for its Ark of Taste.

Trials on GM bananas in Uganda

Tuesday, 05 October 2010
The Uganda National Biosafety Committee recently approved a series of trials on GM crops, two of which involve bananas. The bananas have been engineered to resist Xanthomonas wilt or to produce more vitamin A and iron.

Reinforcing plastics with banana fibre

Sunday, 03 October 2010
An EC-funded project is developing techniques to extract fibres from banana leaves and use them to develop thermoplastic composite products for the automotive industry. Meanwhile, Papyrus Australia developed a technology to transform banana pseudostems into timber-based products.

Increasing the shelf-life of Ugandan bananas

Friday, 01 October 2010
A vacuum-sealed process extends the shelf-life of bananas to up to 30 days when they are kept in the refrigerator. The Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development is also supporting projects on the production of juice and flour from bananas.

Tomato gene may fend banana against formidable fungus

Thursday, 30 September 2010
Having shown in a PNAS article that the fungus Cladosporium fulvum, which causes leaf blight in tomato plants, is closely related to Mycosphaerella fijiensis, which causes a leaf spot disease in bananas, scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands speculate that the Cf resistance gene of the tomato could provide protection to the defenceless Cavendish banana.