Researchers develop bananas resistant to monster fungus

Researchers have developed the first genetically modified version of a Cavendish banana that is resistant to the devastating soil-borne fungus known as Panama disease. The fungus, or Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), can stay in the soil for 40 years and doesn’t respond to chemical sprays. It has destroyed Cavendish — the main commercial banana variety — plantations around the world, and is fast spreading across Asia.

Corn and soybean harvest slows in rain-hit heartland

The U.S. corn harvest is running four percentage points behind normal and the soybean harvest is three points behind the five-year average for late September, said USDA's Crop Progress report. Rainy weather slowed the pace of fieldwork and prompted fear of disease losses that would cut into the value of crops, which are forecast to be record-large.

Fungal disease spreads in attack on bananas

A virulent fungal disease that attacks bananas "is now on a global conquest," says Quartz. "Since 2013, the lethal fungus has jumped continents, ravaging crops in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia."

An edible fungus that grows by eating plastic

In Europe, a designer from Austria, Katharina Unger, is working with Utrecht University on "a system that cultivates edible plastic-digesting fungi," says Wired.

Rampant fungus in salamanders raises biosecurity issues

Scientists say a fungus that has devastated salamanders in Europe could easily spread to the United States, said the New York Times, quoting researchers who called for stricter biosecurity rules.

Research finds a microbe that inhibits damaging rice fungus

A soil microbe that inhibits the rice blast fungus, which destroys an estimated 30 percent of the world's rice crop, was identified by researchers from the University of Delaware and University of California-Davis, according to an announcement.