Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

New AI-powered app detects and controls banana disease

banana disease

Unknown to individuals who rely on bananas for their daily protein shakes or breakfasts, a lethal fungus has eyes the South American banana plantations, endangering the future of bananas. According to the apps originators, based in India, Colombia, and the United States, an AI-powered mobile app generated primarily for banana farmers may be useful when it comes to controlling the spread of this disease.

As stated in a report by the researchers responsible for designing the application, the app which is known as Tumaini, translating to hope in Swahili, is able to identify pathogens at an initial stage and aid in speeding up the control and mitigation process. They said: “This is not just an app, but a tool that contributes to an early warning system that supports farmers directly.”

The scientists behind the apps origin belong to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, based in Colombia, the Imayam Institute of Agriculture and Technology, based in Tamil Nadu, India, and the Texas A&M University, based in the U.S.

Asian and African crops have been affected by the deadly disease, Fusarium Wilt. Recently, the disease spread to Latin America, home to Ecuador, the greatest exporter of Cavendish bananas around the globe.

Fusarium wilt (Pana disease) is known to impact all kinds of bananas grown in India, the greatest producer of bananas around the globe. The deadly fungus intrudes on the vascular tissue of the plant, thereby starving the fruit of its required nutrients. This ends up killing the plant.

A CIAT researcher and the head author of the study documenting the latest app, Michael Gomez Selvaraj, stated how the application can easily map the location and scan the samples to prove the TR4 and avert additional spreading, since it can recognize Fusarium wilt.