First Dutch bananas could help tackle worldwide fungal threat

A Dutch university has grown the Netherlands’ first crop of bananas as part of a research programme that could help protect the fruit from a deadly fungus that threatens production worldwide.

Wageningen University grew 60 banana plants in its greenhouses on coco peat and rock wool, avoiding the threat of a soil-borne fungal disease that could destroy hundreds of thousands of hectares of banana plants around the world, local media reported. The crop will be offered to local hospitals and restaurants.

Gert Kema, a professor of tropical plant pathology, said the success would lead to further research into combating Fusarium wilt.

“It threatens banana production throughout the world,” Kema said. “So we took the banana out of the soil. The plants grow very well, with only the application of a nutrient.”

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Image source: The Guardian