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Bananas: the facts

As painstakingly pieced together from all sources imaginable.

definition nutrition

Trouble in paradise?

Recently there has been some news about two diseases that are spreading like wildfire. These seem to be particularly nasty: yellow Sigatoka disease and Black Sigatoka.
I have looked around and there are some excellent articles about this.
VPRO's Noorderlicht
- for those that can read Dutch, an excellent overview.
The American Phytopathological Society
- in english, very detailed, also includes information about the history of banana's as a food-source and nutritional tidbits. A must-read.

While looking around I also found out that the banana genome is about to be unravelled.

General information

Americans consume more bananas than any other fruit, and virtually none of that fruit is grown in this country. In 1990, the U.S. imported 2,850,000 tons of bananas, mostly from Latin America. In the same year, total exports from the tropics were over 9 million tons. Banana production for export is characterized by large-scale plantations and heavy reliance on chemical inputs. Banana-producing regions are located in the developing world, where environmental and labor laws are typically loose or unenforcable. The industry is dominated by multinational corporations, so the profits of the international banana trade accrue to companies located in the developing world, while the environmental impacts of banana production are localized. [Unknown source.]

banana
name for a family of tropical herbs (the Musacae), for a genus (Musa) of herbaceous plants, and for the fruits they produce. Bananas are probably native to tropical Asia, but are widely cultivated. They are related to the economically valuable MANILA HEMP and to the BIRD-OF-PARADISE FLOWER. Banana plants have a palmlike aspect and large leaves, the overlapping bases of which form the so-called false trunk. Only female flowers develop into the banana fruit (botanically, a berry), each plant bearing fruit only once. The seeds are sterile; propagation is through shoots from the rhizomes. Bananas are an important food staple in the tropics. [From www.encyclopedia.com.]

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