A trial of genetically modified bananas will begin south of Darwin in a few months in hopes of finding a variety resistant to Panama TR4. Two hundred modified lines of Cavendish bananas will be grown over 6 hectares in the Litchfield region in the hope of developing a variety resistant to Panama Tropical Race 4.
Professor James Dale, from the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is leading the banana research program.
He said a similar trial had been underway in the Top End a few years ago, but that came to an abrupt halt when the plants were removed under the Banana Freckle Eradication program.
"The outcome of that trial was that we found four lines of Cavendish Grand Nain which had either complete or very high levels of resistance," Professor Dale said.
"We're now taking those four lines that look very promising and trialling a much larger number of plants over a much bigger area.