Banana
Overview
Banana is the common name
Common name
A common name of a taxon or organism is a name in general use within a community; it is often contrasted with the scientific name for the same organism...

 for herbaceous plant
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

s of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Musa
Musa (genus)
Musa is one of three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses....

and for the fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

s when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic
Parthenocarpy
In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless. Stenospermocarpy may also produce apparently seedless fruit, but the seeds are actually aborted while still small...

 bananas come from the two wild species – Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata is a species of wild banana native to Southeast Asia. It is the progenitor of modern edible bananas, along with Musa balbisiana. First cultivated by humans around 8000 years ago, it is one of the earliest examples of domesticated plants.-Taxonomy and nomenclature:Musa acuminata...

and Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to South Asia. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps and grows with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to...

. The scientific names
Binomial nomenclature
Binomial nomenclature is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages...

 of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution.
Encyclopedia
Banana is the common name
Common name
A common name of a taxon or organism is a name in general use within a community; it is often contrasted with the scientific name for the same organism...

 for herbaceous plant
Herbaceous plant
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

s of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Musa
Musa (genus)
Musa is one of three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses....

and for the fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and color
Color
Color or colour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Color derives from the spectrum of light interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors...

s when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic
Parthenocarpy
In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless. Stenospermocarpy may also produce apparently seedless fruit, but the seeds are actually aborted while still small...

 bananas come from the two wild species – Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata is a species of wild banana native to Southeast Asia. It is the progenitor of modern edible bananas, along with Musa balbisiana. First cultivated by humans around 8000 years ago, it is one of the earliest examples of domesticated plants.-Taxonomy and nomenclature:Musa acuminata...

and Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to South Asia. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps and grows with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to...

. The scientific names
Binomial nomenclature
Binomial nomenclature is a formal system of naming species of living things by giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages...

 of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.

Banana is also used to describe Enset
Ensete
Ensete, or Enset, is a genus of plants, native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. It is one of the three genera in the banana family, Musaceae.- Domesticated enset in Ethiopia :...

 and Fe'i bananas, neither of which belong to the aforementioned species. Enset bananas belong to the genus Ensete while the taxonomy
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 of Fe'i-type cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s is uncertain.

In popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 and commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivar
Banana cultivar groups
Almost all modern edible banana and plantain cultivars are hybrids and polyploids of the wild, seeded bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. They are almost always seedless and hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively...

s with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

s or "cooking bananas". The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms 'plantain' and 'banana' are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.

They are native to tropical South
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

. They are grown in at least 107 countries
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber
Fiber
Fiber is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together....

, banana wine
Banana wine
Banana wine is a fruit wine made from bananas. It is a traditional drink of east Africa, where it plays a role in social events and cultural rituals – in Buganda, for example, it is presented as a gift to the local monarchy....

 and as ornamental plant
Ornamental plant
Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

s.

Description

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous
Herbaceous
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

 flowering plant. The plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 6 to 7.6 m (19.7 to 24.9 ft) tall, growing from a corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

. Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots may develop from the base of the plant. Many varieties of bananas are perennial.

Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2 ft) wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence
Inflorescence
An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Strictly, it is the part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed and which is accordingly modified...

, also known as the banana heart. (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 produced five.) The inflorescence contains many bract
Bract
In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis, or cone scale. Bracts are often different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of a different color, shape, or texture...

s (sometimes incorrectly called petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior
Ovary (plants)
In the flowering plants, an ovary is a part of the female reproductive organ of the flower or gynoecium. Specifically, it is the part of the pistil which holds the ovule and is located above or below or at the point of connection with the base of the petals and sepals...

, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called hands), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh from 30 –. In common usage, bunch applies to part of a tier containing 3–10 adjacent fruits.

Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or 'finger') average 125 gram (0.275577827731097 lb), of which approximately 75% is water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and 25% dry matter. There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem
Phloem
In vascular plants, phloem is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients , in particular, glucose, a sugar, to all parts of the plant where needed. In trees, the phloem is the innermost layer of the bark, hence the name, derived from the Greek word "bark"...

 bundles
Vascular bundle
A vascular bundle is a part of the transport system in vascular plants. The transport itself happens in vascular tissue, which exists in two forms: xylem and phloem. Both these tissues are present in a vascular bundle, which in addition will include supporting and protective tissues...

), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible
Eating
Eating is the ingestion of food to provide for all organisms their nutritional needs, particularly for energy and growth. Animals and other heterotrophs must eat in order to survive: carnivores eat other animals, herbivores eat plants, omnivores consume a mixture of both plant and animal matter,...

 inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety splits easily lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels.

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive
Radioactive decay
Radioactive decay is the process by which an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting ionizing particles . The emission is spontaneous, in that the atom decays without any physical interaction with another particle from outside the atom...

, more so than most other fruits, because of their high potassium content, and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40
Potassium-40
Potassium-40 is a radioactive isotope of potassium which has a very long half-life of 1.248 years, or about 39.38 seconds.Potassium-40 is a rare example of an isotope which undergoes all three types of beta decay. About 89.28% of the time, it decays to calcium-40 with emission of a beta particle...

 found in naturally occurring potassium. Proponents of nuclear power
Nuclear power debate
The nuclear power debate is about the controversy which has surrounded the deployment and use of nuclear fission reactors to generate electricity from nuclear fuel for civilian purposes...

 sometimes refer to the banana equivalent dose
Banana equivalent dose
A banana equivalent dose is a whimsical unit of radiation exposure, informally defined as the additional dose a person will absorb from eating one banana...

 of radiation to support their arguments.

Taxonomy

The genus Musa is in the family Musaceae
Musaceae
Musaceae is a botanical name for a family of flowering plants. The family is native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The plants have a large herbaceous growth habit with leaves with overlapping basal sheaths that form a pseudostem making some members appear to be woody trees.The family has been...

. The APG II system
APG II system
The APG II system of plant classification is the second, now obsolete, version of a modern, mostly molecular-based, system of plant taxonomy that was published in April 2003 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. It was a revision of the first APG system, published in 1998, and was superseded in 2009...

, of 2003 (unchanged from 1998), assigns Musaceae
Musaceae
Musaceae is a botanical name for a family of flowering plants. The family is native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The plants have a large herbaceous growth habit with leaves with overlapping basal sheaths that form a pseudostem making some members appear to be woody trees.The family has been...

 to the
order Zingiberales
Zingiberales
Zingiberales is an order of flowering plants. The order has been widely recognised by the taxonomists, at least for the past few decades. This order includes many familiar plants like ginger, cardamom, turmeric, galangal and myoga of the Zingiberaceae or ginger family, and bananas and plantains...

 in the clade commelinids in the monocotyledonous flowering plants.
Some sources assert that the banana's genus, Musa
Musa (genus)
Musa is one of three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses....

, is named for Antonio Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

. Others say that Linnaeus, who named the genus in 1750, simply adapted an Arabic word for banana, mauz. The word banana itself might have come from the Arabic banan, which means "finger", or perhaps from Wolof
Wolof language
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo language family...

 banaana. The genus contains many species; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

Banana classification has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists due to the way Linnaeus originally classified bananas as two species based only on their methods of consumption, Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

s. However, this simplistic classification has proved to be inadequate to address the sheer number of cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s (many of them synonymous
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

) existing in its primary center of diversity, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

Ernest Cheesman first discovered that Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca, described by Linnaeus, were actually cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s and descendants of two wild and seedy species, Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata is a species of wild banana native to Southeast Asia. It is the progenitor of modern edible bananas, along with Musa balbisiana. First cultivated by humans around 8000 years ago, it is one of the earliest examples of domesticated plants.-Taxonomy and nomenclature:Musa acuminata...

and Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to South Asia. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps and grows with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to...

, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla
Luigi Aloysius Colla
Luigi Aloysius Colla was an Italian botanist of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. He was a member of the Provisional Government of Savoy from December 12, 1798 to April 2, 1799, taking his turn as chairman of the government in rotation for a ten-day term...

. He recommended their abolition in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics that are the combination of the two.

Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed the genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the nomenclature system of bananas based on Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca. Despite this, Musa paradisiaca is still recognized by some authorities today, leading to confusion.

Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds' and Shepherd's system. The accepted names
Botanical name
A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and, if it concerns a plant cultigen, the additional cultivar and/or Group epithets must conform to the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants...

 for bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genetic ancestry.

Synonyms
Synonym (taxonomy)
In scientific nomenclature, a synonym is a scientific name that is or was used for a taxon of organisms that also goes by a different scientific name. For example, Linnaeus was the first to give a scientific name to the Norway spruce, which he called Pinus abies...

 include:
  • Musa × sapientum L.
  • Musa paradisiaca L.
  • Musa × paradisiaca L.
  • Musa paradisiaca L. subsp. Musa sapientum J. G. Baker
  • Musa rosacea N. J. von Jacquin
  • Musa violacea J. G. Baker
  • Musa cliffortiana L.
  • Musa dacca P. F. Horaninow
  • Musa rosacea N. J. von Jacquin
  • Musa × paradisiaca L. subsp. sapientum (L.) C. E. O. Kuntze
  • Musa × paradisiaca var. dacca (P. F. Horaninow) J. G. Baker ex K. M. Schumann


For the banana cultivar previously referred to as Musa sapientum, see Latundan Banana
Latundan banana
Latundan bananas , are triploid hybrid banana cultivars from the Philippines...

. For bananas and plantains previously referred to as Musa paradisiaca, see Plantain
Plantain
Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...

.

For a list of the cultivars classified under the new system see Banana cultivar groups
Banana cultivar groups
Almost all modern edible banana and plantain cultivars are hybrids and polyploids of the wild, seeded bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. They are almost always seedless and hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively...

.
Comparison between the two wild banana ancestors in the Simmonds and Shepherd table (1955)
Species Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata
Musa acuminata is a species of wild banana native to Southeast Asia. It is the progenitor of modern edible bananas, along with Musa balbisiana. First cultivated by humans around 8000 years ago, it is one of the earliest examples of domesticated plants.-Taxonomy and nomenclature:Musa acuminata...

Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to South Asia. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps and grows with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to...

Color of pseudostem Black or grey-brown spots Unmarked or slightly marked
Petiole
Petiole (botany)
In botany, the petiole is the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem. The petiole usually has the same internal structure as the stem. Outgrowths appearing on each side of the petiole are called stipules. Leaves lacking a petiole are called sessile, or clasping when they partly surround the...

 canal
Erect edge, with scarred inferior leaves, not against the pseudostem Closed edge, without leaves, against the pseudostem
Stalk Covered with fine hair Smooth
Pedicel
Pedicel (botany)
A pedicel is a stem that attaches single flowers to the main stem of the inflorescence. It is the branches or stalks that hold each flower in an inflorescence that contains more than one flower....

s
Short Long
Ovum Two regular rows in the locule Four irregular rows in the locule
Elbow of the bract Tall (< 0.28) Short (> 0.30)
Bend of the bract
Bract
In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis, or cone scale. Bracts are often different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of a different color, shape, or texture...

The bract wraps behind the opening The bract raises without bending behind the opening
Form of the bract Lance- or egg-shaped, tapering markedly after the bend Broadly egg-shaped
Peak of the bract Acute Obtuse
Color of the bract Dark red or yellow on the outside, opaque purple or yellow on the inside Brown-purple on the outside, crimson on the inside
Discoloration The inside of the bract is more bright toward the base The inside of the bract is uniform
Scarification of the bract Prominent Not prominent
Free tepal
Tepal
Tepals are elements of the perianth, or outer part of a flower, which include the petals or sepals. The term tepal is more often applied specifically when all segments of the perianth are of similar shape and color, or undifferentiated, which is called perigone...

 of the male flower
Corrugated under the point Rarely corrugated
Color of the male flower White or cream Pink
Color of the markings Orange or bright yellow Cream, yellow, or pale pink

Early cultivation

Southeast Asian farmers first domesticated
Domestication
Domestication or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. In the Convention on Biological Diversity a domesticated species is defined as a 'species in which the evolutionary process has been...

 bananas. Recent archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp
Kuk Swamp
Kuk Swamp is an archaeological site in New Guinea. Evidence for early agricultural drainage systems was found here, beginning about 9,000 years ago.In 2008, it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.-External links:...

 in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity
Center of diversity
A center of diversity is an area that has a high degree of genetic variation for a particular species or genus of plants that can also be the center of origin for that species. The two areas often, but not always, coincide; the degree of coincidence remains the subject of debate...

 of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.

Phytolith
Phytolith
Some plants can take up silica in the soil, whereupon it is deposited within different intracellular and extracellular structures of the plant. After these plants decay, silica is redeposited in the soil in the form of phytoliths , which are rigid, microscopic structures of varying sizes and shapes...

 discoveries in Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 dating to the first millennium BCE triggered an as yet unresolved debate about the date of first cultivation in Africa. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 around that time. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy
Malagasy people
The Malagasy ethnic group forms nearly the entire population of Madagascar. They are divided into two subgroups: the "Highlander" Merina, Sihanaka and Betsileo of the central plateau around Antananarivo, Alaotra and Fianarantsoa, and the côtiers elsewhere in the country. This division has its...

 colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.

The Buddhist story Vessantara Jataka
Vessantara Jataka
The Vessantara Jataka is one of the most popular avadānas of Theravada Buddhism. The Vessantara Jataka tells the story of one of Buddha's past lives, about a compassionate prince, Vessantara, who gives away everything he owns, including his children, thereby displaying the virtue of perfect charity...

 briefly mentions the banana, the king Vessantara has found a banana tree (among some other fruit trees) in the jungle, that bear bananas the size of an elephant's tusk.

The banana may have been present in isolated locations of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 on the eve of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. There is some textual evidence that the prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 was familiar with bananas. The spread of Islam
Spread of Islam
The Spread of Islam started shortly after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. During his lifetime, the community of Muhammad, the ummah, was established in the Arabian Peninsula by means of conversion to Islam and conquering of territory, and oftentimes the conquered had to either...

 was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

s) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. From there it diffused into north Africa and Muslim Iberia
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

 were considered among the best in the Arab world. In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, the month of daylight fasting.

Bananas were introduced to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 by Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 in the 16th century.
The word banana is of West African origin, from the Wolof language
Wolof language
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo language family...

, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

Many wild banana species as well as cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, Malaysia, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

Plantation cultivation in the Caribbean, Central and South America

In the 15th and 16th century, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that it became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available. Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , A Journey to the Center of the Earth , and Around the World in Eighty Days...

 introduces bananas to his readers with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone
Western Caribbean Zone
The Western Caribbean Zone is a historic region that formed in the late sixteenth century and includes the Caribbean coasts of Central America, from Yucatán in Mexico to northern Colombia, and also the islands west of Jamaica...

, including most of Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed bananas to have more time between harvesting and ripening. North America shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker
Lorenzo Dow Baker
Lorenzo Dow Baker was an American sailor, ship's captain and businessman whose voyage from the Orinoco to Jamaica and then to Philadelphia launched the modern banana production industry...

 and Andrew Preston
Andrew Preston
Andrew Woodbury Preston was a prominent American businessman at the turn of the 20th century. In 1884, Preston and nine others formed the Boston Fruit Company, the birth of the modern banana business. Later, in 1899, Preston and Minor C. Keith combined ventures to form the United Fruit Company...

, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company
Boston Fruit Company
The Boston Fruit Company was a fruit production and import business based in the port of Boston, Massachusetts. Andrew W. Preston and nine others established the firm to ship bananas and other fruit from the West Indes to north-eastern America. At the time, the banana was "considered a rare and...

 started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C Keith
Minor C. Keith
Minor Cooper Keith was a U.S. railroad, fruit, and shipping magnate whose business activities had a profound impact in Central America and in Colombia.- Early life :...

 also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is an American producer and distributor of bananas and other produce, under a variety of subsidiary brand names, collectively known as Chiquita. Other brands include Fresh Express salads, which it purchased from Performance Food Group in 2005...

 and Dole
Dole Food Company
Dole Food Company, Inc. is an American-based agricultural multinational corporation headquartered in Westlake Village, California. The company is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, operating with 74,300 full-time and seasonal employees who are responsible for over 300...

. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies
Enclave economy
An enclave economy is defined as an economic system in which an export based industry dominated by international or non-local capital extracts resources or products from another country. It was widely employed as a term to describe post-colonial dependency relations in the developing world,...

 (economies that were internally self sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export oriented that contribute very little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana republic
Banana republic
In political science, the pejorative term Banana Republic denotes a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions , which is ruled by a plutocracy, a small, self-elected, wealthy group who exploit the country by means of a politico-economic oligarchy...

 for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

Peasant cultivation for export in the Caribbean

The vast majority of the world's bananas today are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. India is the world leader in this sort of production, but many other Asian and African countries where climate and soil conditions allow cultivation also host large populations of banana growers who sell at least some of their crop.

There are peasant sector banana growers who produce for the world market in the Caribbean, however. The Windward Islands are notable for the growing, largely of Cavendish bananas, for an international market, generally in Europe but also in North America. In the Caribbean, and especially in Dominica where this sort of cultivation is widespread, holdings are in the 1–2 acre range. In many cases the farmer earns additional money from other crops, from engaging in labor outside the farm, and from a share of the earnings of relatives living overseas. This style of cultivation often was popular in the islands as bananas required little labor input and brought welcome extra income. Vulnerability to hurricanes in the northern hemisphere and cyclones in the south destroy crops.
After the signing of the NAFTA agreements in the 1990s, however, the tide turned against peasant producers. Their costs of production were relatively high and the ending of favorable tariff and other supports, especially in the European Economic Community, made it difficult for peasant producers to compete with the bananas grown on large plantations by the well capitalized firms like Chiquita and Dole. Not only did the large companies have access to cheap labor in the areas they worked, but they were better able to afford modern agronomic advances such as fertilization. The "dollar banana" produced by these concerns made the profit margins for peasant bananas unsustainable.

Caribbean countries have sought to redress this problem by providing government supported agronomic services and helping to organize producers' cooperatives. They have also been supporters of the Fair Trade movement which seeks to balance the inequities in the world trade in commodities.

East Africa

Most farms supply local consumption. Cooking bananas represent a major food source and a major income
Income
Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, "income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents and other forms of earnings...

 source for smallhold farmers. In East African Highland bananas
East African Highland bananas
East African Highland bananas are triploid banana cultivars originating from East Africa. They are a staple food crop in Uganda and other east African countries and are used to make Matoke....

 are of greatest importance as a staple food crop. In countries such as Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, and Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 per capita consumption has been estimated at 45 kilograms (99.2 lb) per year, the highest in the world.

Modern cultivation

All widely cultivated bananas today descend from the two wild bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. While the original wild bananas contained large seeds, diploid or polyploid
Polyploidy
Polyploid is a term used to describe cells and organisms containing more than two paired sets of chromosomes. Most eukaryotic species are diploid, meaning they have two sets of chromosomes — one set inherited from each parent. However polyploidy is found in some organisms and is especially common...

 cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption. These are propagated asexually
Asexual reproduction
Asexual reproduction is a mode of reproduction by which offspring arise from a single parent, and inherit the genes of that parent only, it is reproduction which does not involve meiosis, ploidy reduction, or fertilization. A more stringent definition is agamogenesis which is reproduction without...

 from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce 2 shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions as lateral rhizome
Rhizome
In botany and dendrology, a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes...

 formation dictates.

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic
Parthenocarpy
In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy is the natural or artificially induced production of fruit without fertilization of ovules. The fruit is therefore seedless. Stenospermocarpy may also produce apparently seedless fruit, but the seeds are actually aborted while still small...

, which makes them sterile and unable to produce viable seeds. Lacking seeds, propagation typically involves farmers removing and transplanting part of the underground stem (called a corm). Usually this is done by carefully removing a sucker (a vertical shoot that develops from the base of the banana pseudostem) with some roots intact. However, small sympodial
Sympodial
Sympodial means "with conjoined feet", and in biology is often used to refer to the outward morphology or mode of growth of organisms.-In botany:...

 corms, representing not yet elongated suckers, are easier to transplant and can be left out of the ground for up to 2 weeks; they require minimal care and can be shipped in bulk.

It is not necessary to include the corm or root structure to propagate bananas; severed suckers without root material can be propagated in damp sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, although this takes somewhat longer.

In some countries, commercial propagation occurs by means of tissue culture
Tissue culture
Tissue culture is the growth of tissues or cells separate from the organism. This is typically facilitated via use of a liquid, semi-solid, or solid growth medium, such as broth or agar...

. This method is preferred since it ensures disease-free planting material. When using vegetative parts such as suckers for propagation, there is a risk of transmitting diseases (especially the devastating Panama disease
Panama disease
Panama disease, a Fusarium wilt, is a banana plant disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The fungus attacks the roots of the banana plant. The disease is resistant to fungicide and cannot be controlled chemically.-History:...

).

As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round.

Cavendish

In global commerce, by far the most important cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s belong to the triploid AAA group
Cultivar group
In naming cultivated plants, a Group is a formal classification category, under the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants :The term "Group" was introduced in the 2004 ICNCP, replacing the "Cultivar-group" of the 1995 ICNCP.A Group is united by some common trait; for example...

 of Musa acuminata, commonly referred to as Cavendish group bananas. They account for the majority of banana exports, despite only coming into existence in 1836. The cultivars Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain (Chiquita Banana) gained popularity in the 1950s after the previous mass-produced cultivar, Gros Michel (also an AAA group cultivar), became commercially unviable due to Panama disease
Fusarium oxysporum
Fusarium oxysporum Schlecht. as emended by Snyder and Hansen comprises all the species, varieties and forms recognized by Wollenweber and Reinking within an infrageneric grouping called section Elegans...

, a fungus which attacks the roots of the banana plant.

Ease of transport and shelf life rather than superior taste make the Dwarf Cavendish the main export banana.

Even though it is no longer viable for large scale cultivation, Gros Michel is not extinct and is still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found. Likewise, Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain are in no danger of extinction, but they may leave supermarket shelves if disease makes it impossible to supply the global market. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace Cavendish bananas, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana.

Ripening

Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene
Ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

 gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color normally associated with supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 bananas is in fact a side effect of the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C (56.3 and 59 F) during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and turns the bananas gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C (39.2 °F) environment of a domestic refrigerator
Refrigerator
A refrigerator is a common household appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room...

, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.
"Tree-ripened" Cavendish bananas have a greenish-yellow appearance which changes to a brownish-yellow as they ripen further. Although both flavor and texture of tree-ripened bananas is generally regarded as superior to any type of green-picked fruit, this reduces shelf life to only 7–10 days.

Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed", and may show up at the supermarket fully green. "Guineo
Guineo
Guineos usually refers to a green banana. The term guineo is sometimes used in reference to its ripened counterpart: the yellow banana...

 Verde", or green bananas that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas are best suited to cooking, as seen in Mexican culinary dishes.

A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll
Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρος, chloros and φύλλον, phyllon . Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light...

 leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate
Propionate
The propanoate or propionate ion is C2H5COO− .A propanoic or propionic compound is a salt or ester of propanoic acid....

 ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

 group. Banana-plant leaves also fluoresce in the same way. Green bananas do not fluoresce. The study suggested that this allows animals which can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (tetrachromat
Tetrachromat
Tetrachromacy is the condition of possessing four independent channels for conveying color information, or possessing four different types of cone cells in the eye...

s and pentachromat
Pentachromat
Pentachromacy describes the capability and capacity for capturing, transmitting, processing, and perceiving five independent channels of color information through the primary visual system. Organisms with pentachromacy are termed pentachromats...

s) to more easily detect ripened bananas.

Storage and transport

Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C (55.4 °F). On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C (62.6 °F) and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If the bananas you buy are too green, you can put them in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process. They can be stored indefinitely frozen, then eaten like an ice pop
Ice pop
An ice pop, also referred to in the United States as a popsicle, and in the United Kingdom as an ice lolly, lolly ice or ice lollipop, is a frozen, water-based dessert. It is made by freezing flavored liquid around a stick. Often, the juice is colored artificially...

 or cooked as a banana mush.

Carbon dioxide (which bananas produce) and ethylene absorbents extend fruit life even at high temperatures. This effect can be exploited by packing banana in a polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

 bag and including an ethylene absorbent, e.g., potassium permanganate
Potassium permanganate
Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound with the formula KMnO4. It is a salt consisting of K+ and MnO4− ions. Formerly known as permanganate of potash or Condy's crystals, it is a strong oxidizing agent. It dissolves in water to give intensely purple solutions, the...

, on an inert carrier. The bag is then sealed with a band or string. This treatment has been shown to more than double lifespans up to 3–4 weeks without the need for refrigeration.

Trade

Top 10 banana producing nations
(in million metric tons)
* 26.2
9.0
8.2
7.6
7.2
6.3
* 2.2
2.1
2.0
1.5
World total 95.6
Source: 2009 data, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
* Countries use 2008 FAO data


Bananas and plantains constitute a major staple food crop
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 for millions of people in developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

. In most tropical countries, green (unripe) bananas used for cooking
Cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

 represent the main cultivars. Bananas are cooked in ways that are similar to potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es. Both can be fried
Frying
Frying is the cooking of food in oil or another fat, a technique that originated in ancient Egypt around 2500 BC. Chemically, oils and fats are the same, differing only in melting point, but the distinction is only made when needed. In commerce, many fats are called oils by custom, e.g...

, boiled
Boiling
Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid is equal to the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding environmental pressure. While below the boiling point a liquid...

, baked
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

, or chipped and have similar taste
Taste
Taste is one of the traditional five senses. It refers to the ability to detect the flavor of substances such as food, certain minerals, and poisons, etc....

 and texture when served. One banana provides about the same calorie
Calorie
The calorie is a pre-SI metric unit of energy. It was first defined by Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat, entering French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. In most fields its use is archaic, having been replaced by the SI unit of energy, the joule...

s as one potato.

In 2009, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 led the world in banana production, representing approximately 28% of the worldwide crop, mostly for domestic consumption. The six leading exporting countries (Table, right) together accounted for about two-thirds of exports, each contributing more than 6 million tons, according to Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 statistics.

Most producers are small-scale farmer
Farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

s either for home consumption or local markets. Because bananas and plantains produce fruit year-round, they provide an extremely valuable food source during the hunger season (when the food from one annual/semi-annual harvest has been consumed, and the next is still to come). Bananas and plantains are therefore critical to global food security
Food security
Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past...

.
Bananas have been an important source of disagreement in the Doha Round of trade talks. A study for ICTSD showed that the new deal on EU banana import tariffs will be a boon to Latin American exporters but would trigger a drop in exports of the fruit from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP
ACP
-Organizations:*The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States*ACP Magazines, Australia*Active Citizen Project*Alberta Conservative Party, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta*Alliance for Climate Protection*American College of Physicians...

) countries..

Bananas are among the most widely consumed foods in the world. Most banana farmers receive a low price for their produce as grocery companies pay discounted prices for buying in enormous quantity. Price competition among grocers has reduced their margins, leading to lower prices for growers. Chiquita
Chiquita Brands International
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is an American producer and distributor of bananas and other produce, under a variety of subsidiary brand names, collectively known as Chiquita. Other brands include Fresh Express salads, which it purchased from Performance Food Group in 2005...

, Del Monte
Fresh Del Monte Produce
Fresh Del Monte Produce is a global producer, marketer and distributor of fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. Fresh Del Monte Produce is also a producer and distributor of prepared fruit and vegetables, juices, beverages, snacks and desserts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa...

, Dole
Dole Food Company
Dole Food Company, Inc. is an American-based agricultural multinational corporation headquartered in Westlake Village, California. The company is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, operating with 74,300 full-time and seasonal employees who are responsible for over 300...

, and Fyffes
Fyffes
-History:In the 1870s Thomas Fyffe, a London food wholesaler, went into partnership with a fruit dealer named Hudson who had connections in the Canary Islands. In 1878 they shipped their first cargo of bananas to England. Within five years the business had become so successful that they purchased...

 grow their own bananas in Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, and Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

. Banana plantations are capital intensive and demand significant expertise. The majority of independent growers are large and wealthy landowners in these countries. Producers have attempted to raise prices via marketing them as "fair trade
Fair trade
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards...

" or Rainforest Alliance
Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization with the published aims of working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. It is based in New York City, and has offices throughout the...

-certified in some countries.

The banana has an extensive trade history beginning with the founding of the United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company
It had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the...

 (now Chiquita) at the end of the 19th century. For much of the 20th century, bananas and coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 dominated the export economies of Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. In the 1930s, bananas and coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 made up as much as 75% of the region's exports. As late as 1960, the two crops accounted for 67% of the exports from the region. Though the two were grown in similar regions, they tended not to be distributed together. The United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company
It had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the...

 based its business almost entirely on the banana trade, because the coffee trade proved too difficult to control. The term "banana republic
Banana republic
In political science, the pejorative term Banana Republic denotes a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions , which is ruled by a plutocracy, a small, self-elected, wealthy group who exploit the country by means of a politico-economic oligarchy...

" has been applied to most countries in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, but from a strict economic perspective only Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 had economies dominated by the banana trade.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 has traditionally imported many of their bananas from former European Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 colonies, paying guaranteed prices above global market rates. As of 2005, these arrangements were in the process of being withdrawn under pressure from other major trading powers, principally the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The withdrawal of these indirect subsidies to Caribbean producers is expected to favour the banana producers of Central America, in which American companies have an economic interest.

The United States produces few bananas. A mere 14000 tonnes (13,778.8 LT) were grown in Hawaii in 2001. Bananas were once grown in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and southern California.

Pests, diseases, and natural disasters

While in no danger of outright extinction, the most common edible banana cultivar Cavendish (extremely popular in Europe and the Americas) could become unviable for large-scale cultivation in the next 10–20 years. Its predecessor 'Gros Michel
Gros Michel
Gros Michel, often known as Big Mike, is an export cultivar of banana, and was until the 1950s the main variety exported to the United States.-Taxonomy:Gros Michel is a triploid cultivar of the wild banana Musa acuminata, belonging to the AAA group....

', discovered in the 1820s, suffered this fate. Like almost all bananas, Cavendish lacks genetic diversity, which makes it vulnerable to diseases, threatening both commercial cultivation and small-scale subsistence farming. Some commentators remarked that those variants which could replace what much of the world considers a "typical banana" are so different that most people would not consider them the same fruit, and blame the decline of the banana on monogenetic cultivation driven by short-term commercial motives.

Panama disease

Panama disease
Panama disease
Panama disease, a Fusarium wilt, is a banana plant disease caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. The fungus attacks the roots of the banana plant. The disease is resistant to fungicide and cannot be controlled chemically.-History:...

 is caused by a fusarium
Fusarium
Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi widely distributed in soil and in association with plants. Most species are harmless saprobes, and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health...

 soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 fungus
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 (Race 1), which enters the plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s through the root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s and travels with water into the trunk and leaves, producing gel
Gel
A gel is a solid, jelly-like material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state...

s and gums that cut off the flow of water and nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

s, causing the plant to wilt
Wilting
Wilting refers to the loss of rigidity of non-woody parts of plants. This occurs when the turgor pressure in non-lignified plant cells falls towards zero, as a result of diminished water in the cells...

, and exposing the rest of the plant to lethal amounts of sunlight. Prior to 1960, almost all commercial banana production centered on 'Gros Michel', which was highly susceptible. Cavendish was chosen as the replacement for Gros Michel because, among resistant cultivars, it produces the highest quality fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. However, more care is required for shipping the Cavendish, and its quality compared to Gros Michel is debated.

According to current sources, a deadly form of Panama disease is infecting Cavendish. All plants are genetically identical, which prevents evolution of disease resistance. Researchers are examining hundreds of wild varieties for resistance.

Tropical Race 4

TR4 is a reinvigorated strain of Panama disease first discovered in 1993. This virulent form of fusarium wilt has wiped out Cavendish in several southeast Asian countries. It has yet to reach the Americas; however, soil fungi can easily be carried on boot
Boot
A boot is a type of footwear but they are not shoes. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle and extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece....

s, clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

, or tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

s. This is how Tropical Race 4 travels and is its most likely route into Latin America. Cavendish is highly susceptible to TR4, and over time, Cavendish is almost certain to disappear from commercial production by this disease. Unfortunately, the only known defense to TR4 is genetic resistance.

Black Sigatoka

Black sigatoka
Black sigatoka
Black Sigatoka is a leaf spot disease of banana plants caused by ascomycete fungusMycosphaerella fijiensis . Plants with leaves damaged by the disease may have up to 50% lower yield of fruit...

 is a fungal leaf spot disease first observed in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 in 1963 or 1964. Black Sigatoka (also known as black leaf streak) has spread to banana plantations throughout the tropics from infected banana leaves that were used as packing material. It affects all main cultivars of bananas and plantains, impeding photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

 by blackening parts of the leaves, eventually killing the entire leaf. Starved for energy, fruit production falls by 50% or more, and the bananas that do grow ripen
Ripening
Ripening is a process in fruits that causes them to become more palatable. In general, a fruit becomes sweeter, less green, and softer as it ripens. Even though the acidity of fruit increases as it ripens, the higher acidity level does not make the fruit seem tarter, which can lead to the...

 prematurely, making them unsuitable for export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

. The fungus
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 has shown ever-increasing resistance to treatment, with the current expense for treating 1 hectares (2.5 acre) exceeding $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

1,000 per year. In addition to the expense, there is the question of how long intensive spraying can be environmentally justified. Several resistant cultivars of banana have been developed, but none has yet received commercial acceptance due to taste and texture issues.

In East Africa

With the arrival of Black sigatoka
Black sigatoka
Black Sigatoka is a leaf spot disease of banana plants caused by ascomycete fungusMycosphaerella fijiensis . Plants with leaves damaged by the disease may have up to 50% lower yield of fruit...

, banana production in eastern Africa fell by over 40%. For example, during the 1970s, Uganda produced 15 to 20 t (14.8 to 19.7 ) of bananas per hectare. Today, production has fallen to only 6 tonnes (5.9 LT)per hectare.

The situation has started to improve as new disease-resistant cultivars have been developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is one of the world's leading research partners in finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. IITA's award-winning research-for-development addresses the development needs of tropical countries...

 and the National Agricultural Research Organisation of Uganda (NARO), such as FHIA-17 (known in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 as the Kabana 3). These new cultivars taste different from the Cabana banana, which has slowed their acceptance by local farmers. However, by adding mulch
Mulch
In agriculture and gardening, is a protective cover placed over the soil to retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients, and suppress weed growth and seed germination. Mulching in gardens and landscaping mimics the leaf cover that is found on forest floors....

 and manure
Manure
Manure is organic matter used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are trapped by bacteria in the soil...

 to the soil around the base of the plant, these new cultivars have substantially increased yields in the areas where they have been tried.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is one of the world's leading research partners in finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. IITA's award-winning research-for-development addresses the development needs of tropical countries...

 and NARO, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a prominent philanthropic organization and private foundation based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by John D. Rockefeller , along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr...

 and CGIAR
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
The CGIAR is a strategic alliance that unites organizations involved in agricultural research for sustainable development with the donors that fund such work. These donors include governments of developing and industrialized countries, foundations and international and regional organizations...

 have started trials for genetically modified
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 bananas that are resistant to both Black sigatoka and banana weevils. It is developing cultivars specifically for smallholder and subsistence farmers.

Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV)

This virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

 jumps from plant to plant using aphid
Aphid
Aphids, also known as plant lice and in Britain and the Commonwealth as greenflies, blackflies or whiteflies, are small sap sucking insects, and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions...

s. It stunts leaves, resulting in a "bunched" appearance. Generally, an infected plant does not produce fruit, although mild strains exist which allow some production. These mild strains are often mistaken for malnourishment, or a disease other than BBTV. There is no cure; however, its effect can be minimized by planting only tissue-cultured plants
Plant tissue culture
Plant tissue culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium of known composition. Plant tissue culture is widely used to produce clones of a plant in a method known as micropropagation...

 (in vitro propagation), controlling aphids, and immediately removing and destroying infected plants.

Fruit

Bananas are a staple starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

 for many tropical
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. Bananas' flavor is due, amongst other chemicals, to isoamyl acetate
Isoamyl acetate
Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid. It is a colorless liquid that is only slightly soluble in water, but very soluble in most organic solvents...

 which is one of the main constituents of banana oil.

During the ripening process
Ripening
Ripening is a process in fruits that causes them to become more palatable. In general, a fruit becomes sweeter, less green, and softer as it ripens. Even though the acidity of fruit increases as it ripens, the higher acidity level does not make the fruit seem tarter, which can lead to the...

, bananas produce a plant hormone
Plant hormone
Plant hormones are chemicals that regulate plant growth, which, in the UK, are termed 'plant growth substances'. Plant hormones are signal molecules produced within the plant, and occur in extremely low concentrations. Hormones regulate cellular processes in targeted cells locally and, when moved...

 called ethylene
Ethylene
Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

, which indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase
Amylase
Amylase is an enzyme that catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Food that contains much starch but little sugar, such as rice and potato, taste slightly sweet as they are chewed because amylase turns...

, an enzyme
Enzyme
Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzymes in order to occur at rates...

 that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a "starchier" taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase
Pectinase
Pectinase is a general term for enzymes, such as pectolyase, pectozyme and polygalacturonase, commonly referred to in brewing as pectic enzymes. These break down pectin, a polysaccharide substrate that is found in the cell walls of plants. One of the most studied and widely used commercial...

, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin
Pectin
Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot...

 between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

, or steamed in glutinous rice
Glutinous rice
Glutinous rice is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, and pearl rice, and pulut) is a...

 wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam
Fruit preserves
Fruit preserves are preparations of fruits and sugar, often canned or sealed for long-term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves today often involves adding commercial or natural pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used, as well. Prior to World War II, fruit preserve...

. Banana pancake
Pancake
A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side...

s are popular amongst backpacker
Backpacking (travel)
Backpacking is a term that has historically been used to denote a form of low-cost, independent international travel. Terms such as independent travel and/or budget travel are often used...

s and other travelers in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail
Banana Pancake Trail
The Banana Pancake Trail is the name given to the well-trodden and constantly growing routes around South East Asia travelled by backpackers and other tourists...

for those places in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips
Banana chips
Banana chips are deep-fried and/or dried slices of bananas . They can be covered with sugar or honey and have a sweet taste, or they can be fried in oil and spices and have a salty and/or spicy taste. Variants of banana chips may be covered with chocolate instead...

 are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turrón
Turrón (Filipino cuisine)
Turon , also known as Banana Lumpia, is a Philippine snack made of thinly sliced bananas and a slice of jackfruit, dusted with brown sugar, rolled in spring roll wrapper and fried...

, and halo-halo
Halo-halo
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served in a tall glass or bowl....

. Most of these dishes use the Saba
Saba banana
Saba banana, also known as Cardaba banana, is a triploid hybrid banana cultivar originating from the Philippines. It is primarily a cooking banana though it can also be eaten raw. It is one of the most important banana varieties in Philippine cuisine....

 or Cardaba banana cultivar. Pisang goreng
Pisang goreng
Pisang goreng is a snack food mostly found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. In Singapore and some parts of Malaysia it is known as "goreng pisang" . It is consumed as a snack in the morning and afternoon...

, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. A similar dish is known in the United States as banana fritters.

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes.

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana
Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to South Asia. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps and grows with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to...

), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.

Flower

Banana hearts are used as a vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 in South Asian
South Asian cuisine
South Asian cuisine, also known as Desi cuisine, includes the cuisines from the Indian subcontinent. It has roots in South Asia, including practices taken from the Hindu beliefs practiced by the large population found in the region, alongside influences from neighbouring regions and cultures,...

 and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke
Artichoke
-Plants:* Globe artichoke, a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean* Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower with an edible tuber...

. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

Leaves

Banana leaves
Banana leaf
Banana leaf is the leaf of the Banana plant. It is used for various functions, such as for decorative elements, wrappings, plate mat, and employed in cooking method....

 are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and several Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

n countries.
Especially in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

, Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

, Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 and Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 in every occasion the food must be served in a banana leaf and as a part of the food a banana is served.
Steamed with dishes they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices, protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor. In Tamil Nadu (India) leaves are fully dried and used as packing material for food stuffs and also making cups to hold liquid foods. The dried leaves are called 'Vaazhai-ch- charugu'
(வாழைச் சருகு) in Tamil.

Trunk

The tender core of the banana plant's trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, and notably in the Burmese dish mohinga
Mohinga
Mohinga is Rice noodles in fish soup and considered by many to be the national dish of Burma. It is readily available in most parts of the country. In major cities, street hawkers and roadside stalls sell dozens of dishes of mohinga to the locals and passers-by...

.

Nutrition and research

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Several forms of the vitamin are known, but pyridoxal phosphate is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism, including transamination, deamination, and decarboxylation...

 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

 and potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is a cancer caused by uncontrolled cell growth , in the colon, rectum, or vermiform appendix. Colorectal cancer is clinically distinct from anal cancer, which affects the anus....

 and in women, breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 and renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma is a kidney cancer that originates in the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule, the very small tubes in the kidney that filter the blood and remove waste products. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, responsible for approximately 80% of cases...

.

Banana ingestion may affect dopamine
Dopamine
Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter present in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this substituted phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five known types of dopamine receptors—D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5—and their...

 production in people deficient in the amino acid
Amino acid
Amino acids are molecules containing an amine group, a carboxylic acid group and a side-chain that varies between different amino acids. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen...

 tyrosine
Tyrosine
Tyrosine or 4-hydroxyphenylalanine, is one of the 22 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. Its codons are UAC and UAU. It is a non-essential amino acid with a polar side group...

, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, juice is extracted from the corm
Corm
A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat ....

 and used as a home remedy
Home remedy
A home remedy is a treatment to cure a disease or ailment that employs certain spices, vegetables, or other common items. Home remedies may or may not have medicinal properties that treat or cure the disease or ailment in question, as they are typically passed along by laypersons...

 for jaundice
Jaundice
Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, the conjunctival membranes over the sclerae , and other mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia . This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid...

, sometimes with the addition of honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, and for kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s.

Individuals with a latex allergy
Latex allergy
Latex allergy is a medical term encompassing a range of allergic reactions to natural rubber latex.-Type I:The most serious and rare form, type I is an immediate and potentially life-threatening reaction, not unlike the severe reaction some people have to bee stings...

 may experience a reaction to bananas.

Textiles

The banana plant has long been a source of fiber
Fiber
Fiber is a class of materials that are continuous filaments or are in discrete elongated pieces, similar to lengths of thread.They are very important in the biology of both plants and animals, for holding tissues together....

 for high quality textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

s. In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, banana cultivation for clothing and household use dates back to at least the 13th century. In the Japanese system, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in lye
Lye
Lye is a corrosive alkaline substance, commonly sodium hydroxide or historically potassium hydroxide . Previously, lye was among the many different alkalis leached from hardwood ashes...

 to prepare fibers for yarn
Yarn
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. Modern manufactured sewing threads may be finished with wax or...

-making. These banana shoots produce fibers of varying degrees of softness, yielding yarns and textiles with differing qualities for specific uses. For example, the outermost fibers of the shoots are the coarsest, and are suitable for tablecloth
Tablecloth
A tablecloth is a cloth used to cover a table. Some are mainly ornamental coverings, which may also help protect the table from scratches and stains. Other tablecloths are designed to be spread on a dining table before laying out tableware and food....

s, while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for kimono
Kimono
The is a Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. The word "kimono", which literally means a "thing to wear" , has come to denote these full-length robes...

 and kamishimo
Hakama
are a type of traditional Japanese clothing. They were originally worn only by men, but today they are worn by both sexes. Hakama are tied at the waist and fall approximately to the ankles. Hakama are worn over a kimono ....

. This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.

In a Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

ese system the trunk is harvested instead, and small pieces are subjected to a softening process, mechanical fiber extraction, bleaching and drying. After that, the fibers are sent to the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley , located in Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and the Buddhists. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within this valley.-Etymology:The city of...

 for use in rug
Carpet
A carpet is a textile floor covering consisting of an upper layer of "pile" attached to a backing. The pile is generally either made from wool or a manmade fibre such as polypropylene,nylon or polyester and usually consists of twisted tufts which are often heat-treated to maintain their...

s with a silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

-like texture. These banana fiber rugs are woven by traditional Nepalese hand-knotting methods, and are sold RugMark certified
Rugmark
Rugmark is a network of non-profit organizations dedicated to ending illegal child labour in the rug making industry. Founded in 1994 by children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, it provides a certification program that allows companies that pass inspection to attach a logo certifying that...

.

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 after harvesting for fruit the trunk (outer layer of the shoot) is made into fine thread used in making of flower garland
Garland
A garland is a class of decoration, of which there are many types.Garland may also refer to:-Places:*Garland, Arkansas, a town in Miller County*Garland County, Arkansas*Garland, Maine, a town in Penobscot County...

s instead of thread.

Paper

Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is used in two different senses: to refer to a paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 made from the bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

 of the banana plant, mainly used for artistic purposes, or paper made from banana fiber, obtained with an industrialized process from the stem and the non-usable fruits. The paper itself can be either hand-made or in industrial processes.

Cultural roles

Arts

  • The song "Yes! We Have No Bananas" was written by Frank Silver
    Frank Silver
    Frank Silver , a U.S. songwriter. He co-wrote & co-composed the popular song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" in 1923 with Irving Cohn. Frank Silver was a jazz band drummer.-References:...

     and Irving Cohn
    Irving Cohn
    Irving Cohn was a British-American songwriter, best known for "Yes, We Have No Bananas", which he co-wrote with Frank Silver in 1923....

     and originally released in 1923; for many decades, it was the best-selling sheet music
    Sheet music
    Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

     in history. Since then the song has been rerecorded several times and has been particularly popular during banana shortages.
  • A person slipping on a banana peel has been a staple of physical comedy
    Physical comedy
    Physical comedy, also known as slapstick, is a comedic performance relying mostly on the use of the body to convey humour.Physical comedy, whether conveyed by a pratfall , a silly face, or the action of walking into walls, is a common and rarely subtle form of comedy...

     for generations. A 1910 comedy recording features a popular character of the time, "Uncle Josh", claiming to describe his own such incident:
  • The poet Bashō
    Matsuo Basho
    , born , then , was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku...

     is named after the Japanese word for a banana plant. The "bashō" planted in his garden by a grateful student became a source of inspiration to his poetry, as well as a symbol of his life and home.
  • The Japanese novelist Mihoko Yoshimoto changed her name to Banana Yoshimoto
    Banana Yoshimoto
    is the pen name of Mahoko Yoshimoto , a Japanese contemporary writer. She writes her name in hiragana.-Biography:Yoshimoto, daughter of Takaaki Yoshimoto, was born in Tokyo on July 24, 1964...

     because she liked banana flowers.

Religion

In Burma, bunches of green bananas surrounding a green coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

 in a tray form an important part of traditional offerings to the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and the Nat
Nat (spirit)
The nats are spirits worshipped in Burma in conjunction with Buddhism. They are divided between the 37 Great Nats and all the rest . Almost all of the 37 Great Nats were human beings who met violent deaths . They may thus also be called nat sein...

s.

In all the important festivals and occasions of Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

s the serving of bananas plays a prominent part. The banana (Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

: or ) is one of three fruits with this significance, the others being mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 and jack fruit.
It is also worth mentioning that ancient Tamils have named three varieties of bananas after Hindu Trinity of Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as Poovan Pazham- பூவன் பழம் (Brahma), Mondan/Mukundhan Pazham- மொந்தன்(முகுந்தன் பழம்) Vishnu and Peyan Pazham- பேயன் பழம் (Shiva).

Symbols

Bananas are also frequently used as a phallic symbol
Phallus
A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

, as typified by the artwork of the debut album of The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited...

, which features a banana on the front cover. On the original vinyl LP version, the design allowed the listener to 'peel' this banana to find a pink, peeled banana/phallus on the inside.

Other uses

  • Banana sap from the pseudostem, peelings or flesh may be sufficiently sticky for adhesive uses.
  • In regions where bananas are grown, the large leaves may be used as umbrella
    Umbrella
    An umbrella or parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The term parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain...

    s when the pseudostems are tied together to form a floatation device.
  • Banana peel may have capability to extract heavy metal contamination
    Contamination
    Contamination is the presence of a minor and unwanted constituent in material, physical body, natural environment, at a workplace, etc.-Specifics:"Contamination" also has more specific meanings in science:...

     from river water, similar to other purification
    Water purification
    Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals, materials, and biological contaminants from contaminated water. The goal is to produce water fit for a specific purpose...

     materials.
  • Banana peel has displayed antioxidant
    Antioxidant
    An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

     activity in vitro
    In vitro
    In vitro refers to studies in experimental biology that are conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological context in order to permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms. Colloquially, these experiments...

    , especially from unripe extracts.

See also

  • Banana Cultivar Groups
    Banana cultivar groups
    Almost all modern edible banana and plantain cultivars are hybrids and polyploids of the wild, seeded bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. They are almost always seedless and hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively...

  • Ensete
    Ensete
    Ensete, or Enset, is a genus of plants, native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. It is one of the three genera in the banana family, Musaceae.- Domesticated enset in Ethiopia :...

    (false bananas)
  • Musa
    Musa (genus)
    Musa is one of three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses....

  • Musella
    Musella
    Musella is a genus comprising one or two species in the family Musaceae native to southeast Asia, including southwest China , Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar...

  • Musaceae
    Musaceae
    Musaceae is a botanical name for a family of flowering plants. The family is native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The plants have a large herbaceous growth habit with leaves with overlapping basal sheaths that form a pseudostem making some members appear to be woody trees.The family has been...

  • Plantain
    Plantain
    Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana...


Further reading

  • Dan Koeppel, The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

     article of June 18, 2008, Yes, We Will Have No Bananas
  • Harriet Lamb
    Harriet Lamb
    Harriet Lamb is a leading campaigner for fair trade and has been Executive Director of the United Kingdom Fairtrade Foundation since 2001. She was born in England, lived in India as a child and then grew up and was educated in the UK, taking a first degree in political science at Cambridge...

    , "Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles", ISBN 978-1-84604-083-2
  • Musapedia, the banana knowledge compendium

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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