Scientist discover a Solution to Tissue Culture banana virus

A research scientist at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has come up with what may be a solution to banana streak virus (BSV) found in Tissue Culture (TC) bananas.

In her Masters research titled Evaluation of in vitro protocols for the elimination of banana streak virus in TC produced bananas, Ms. Grace Wacheke Mungai, a Biotechnologist at the Institute of Biotechnology Research (IBR) found out that the virus could be eliminated through chemotherapy by using ribavirin and salicylic acid chemicals.

While there were other methods such as Meristem tip culture and Thermotherapy, the researcher observed that ribavirin and salicylic acid chemicals were most effective for the elimination of virus in tissue culture bananas, a move that could now bring hope to tissue culture banana farmers in the country.

Ms. Grace who took two years to carry out her research was supervised by Dr. Elijah M. Ateka, Dr. Aggrey Nyende and Dr. Douglas W. Miano stated that the virus found in both cooking and ripening bananas was quite prevalent in Kenya, but could now be a thing of the past if BSV –free banana plantlets and proper orchard management were employed.

The objective of the study aimed at among other things; to find out whether Tissue Culture bananas had BSV virus, whether the virus if at all they existed could be eliminated, as well as do a cost benefit analysis.

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