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Banana Fungus, Insect Outbreak Threaten Global Supply

Banana lovers better satiate their appetites now. The world's supply of the fruit is under attack.

According to Scientific American, strains of a particular soil fungus -- Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, or Foc -- have struck a key variety of banana grown for export in Mozambique and Jordan. Scientists fear that if the banana fungus spreads further, the popular Cavendish banana could become critically threatened.

The fungus, which has been found on several plantations, causes the incurable Panama disease, or Fusarium wilt, that rots bananas. In the 1950s, another strain of the banana fungus nearly wiped out the Gros Michel cultivar, once as common as the Cavendish variety. After the fungus decimated banana populations in Central and South America, producers switched to the Cavendish, which was resistant to the strain of fungus at the time.

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