Now, ‘Banana Covid’ hits plantations

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News: Fusarium Wilt TR4 dubbed as Banana Covid is setting up new hotspots and threatening the output of Banana Cultivation  in India.

Facts:

  • Tropical Race 4(TR4): It is a novel fungus strain that causes Fusarium wilt (aka Panama disease) in banana plants.
  • Origin: It was first identified in Taiwan and has jumped from Asia to the Middle East and Africa reaching as far as Latin America. 
  • Threat: It cripples plantations by first attacking the leaves which turn yellow from their trailing edges before wilting away.
  • Treatment: There is no effective remedy yet.Hence, scientists recommend biosecurity measures including plant quarantine to slow its spread.