A banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called "plantains", distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name for this hybrid, Musa sapientum, is no longer used.
Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are grown in 135 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine, and banana beer and as ornamental plants. The world's largest producers of bananas in 2017 were India and China, which together accounted for approximately 38% of total production.
Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains". In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many more kinds of banana are grown and eaten, so the binary distinction is not useful and is not made in local languages.
The term "banana" is also used as the common name for the plants that produce the fruit. This can extend to other members of the genus Musa, such as the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), the pink banana (Musa velutina), and the Fe'i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, such as the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are in the banana family, Musaceae.
|Peeled, whole, and longitudinal section|
The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a "corm". Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are often mistaken for trees, but what appears to be a trunk is actually a "false stem" or pseudostem. Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of banana plants are composed of a "stalk" (petiole) and a blade (lamina). The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath; the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, which is all that supports the plant. The edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart. Cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions. Most are around 5 m (16 ft) tall, with a range from 'Dwarf Cavendish' plants at around 3 m (10 ft) to 'Gros Michel' at 7 m (23 ft) or more. Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.
When a banana plant is mature, the corm stops producing new leaves and begins to form a flower spike or inflorescence. A stem develops which grows up inside the pseudostem, carrying the immature inflorescence until eventually it emerges at the top. Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the "banana heart". (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots will normally have developed from the base, so that the plant as a whole is perennial. In the plantation system of cultivation, only one of the offshoots will be allowed to develop in order to maintain spacing. The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly referred to as petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, 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 30–50 kilograms (66–110 lb). Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or "finger") average 125 grams (0.276 lb), of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter (nutrient table, lower right).
The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety can be split lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels by manually deforming the unopened fruit. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit.
As with all potassium-containing objects on Earth, including many common foods and people, bananas emit radioactivity at very low levels occurring naturally from potassium-40 (K40 or K-40), which is one of several isotopes of potassium. The banana equivalent dose of radiation was developed in 1995 as a simple teaching-tool to educate the public about the natural, small amount of K-40 radiation occurring in every human and in common foods – where the banana was used as an example. The K-40 in a banana contains about 15 becquerels or 0.1 micro-sieverts (units of radioactivity exposure), an amount that does not add to the total body radiation dose when a banana is consumed. The radiation exposure from consuming one banana is approximately 1% of the average daily exposure to radiation, or about 50 times less than a typical x-ray in a dental exam and 400 times less than taking a commercial flight across the United States.
The genus Musa was created by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz. The old biological name Musa sapientum = "Muse of the wise" arose because of homophony in Latin with the classical Muses.
Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG III system assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales, part of the commelinid clade of the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some 70 species of Musa were recognized by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of January 2013; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.
The classification of cultivated bananas has long been a problematic issue for taxonomists. Linnaeus originally placed bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa sapientum for dessert bananas and Musa paradisiaca for plantains. More species names were added, but this approach proved to be inadequate for the number of cultivars in the primary center of diversity of the genus, Southeast Asia. Many of these cultivars were given names that were later discovered to be synonyms.
In a series of papers published from 1947 onwards, Ernest Cheesman showed that Linnaeus's Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca were cultivars and descendants of two wild seed-producing species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, both first described by Luigi Aloysius Colla. Cheesman recommended the abolition of Linnaeus's species in favor of reclassifying bananas according to three morphologically distinct groups of cultivars – those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa balbisiana, those primarily exhibiting the botanical characteristics of Musa acuminata, and those with characteristics of both. Researchers Norman Simmonds and Ken Shepherd proposed a genome-based nomenclature system in 1955. This system eliminated almost all the difficulties and inconsistencies of the earlier classification of bananas based on assigning scientific names to cultivated varieties. Despite this, the original names are still recognized by some authorities, leading to confusion.
The accepted scientific names for most groups of cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla for the ancestral species, and Musa × paradisiaca L. for the hybrid M. acuminata × M. balbisiana.
Synonyms of M. × paradisica include
Generally, modern classifications of banana cultivars follow Simmonds and Shepherd's system. Cultivars are placed in groups based on the number of chromosomes they have and which species they are derived from. Thus the Latundan banana is placed in the AAB Group, showing that it is a triploid derived from both M. acuminata (A) and M. balbisiana (B). For a list of the cultivars classified under this system, see "List of banana cultivars".
In regions such as North America and Europe, Musa fruits offered for sale can be divided into "bananas" and "plantains", based on their intended use as food. Thus the banana producer and distributor Chiquita produces publicity material for the American market which says that "a plantain is not a banana". The stated differences are that plantains are more starchy and less sweet; they are eaten cooked rather than raw; they have thicker skin, which may be green, yellow or black; and they can be used at any stage of ripeness. Linnaeus made the same distinction between plantains and bananas when first naming two "species" of Musa. Members of the "plantain subgroup" of banana cultivars, most important as food in West Africa and Latin America, correspond to the Chiquita description, having long pointed fruit. They are described by Ploetz et al. as "true" plantains, distinct from other cooking bananas. The cooking bananas of East Africa belong to a different group, the East African Highland bananas, so would not qualify as "true" plantains on this definition.
An alternative approach divides bananas into dessert bananas and cooking bananas, with plantains being one of the subgroups of cooking bananas. Triploid cultivars derived solely from M. acuminata are examples of "dessert bananas", whereas triploid cultivars derived from the hybrid between M. acuminata and M. balbinosa (in particular the plantain subgroup of the AAB Group) are "plantains". Small farmers in Colombia grow a much wider range of cultivars than large commercial plantations. A study of these cultivars showed that they could be placed into at least three groups based on their characteristics: dessert bananas, non-plantain cooking bananas, and plantains, although there were overlaps between dessert and cooking bananas.
In Southeast Asia – the center of diversity for bananas, both wild and cultivated – the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" does not work, according to Valmayor et al. Many bananas are used both raw and cooked. There are starchy cooking bananas which are smaller than those eaten raw. The range of colors, sizes and shapes is far wider than in those grown or sold in Africa, Europe or the Americas. Southeast Asian languages do not make the distinction between "bananas" and "plantains" that is made in English (and Spanish). Thus both Cavendish cultivars, the classic yellow dessert bananas, and Saba cultivars, used mainly for cooking, are called pisang in Malaysia and Indonesia, kluai in Thailand and chuoi in Vietnam. Fe'i bananas, grown and eaten in the islands of the Pacific, are derived from entirely different wild species than traditional bananas and plantains. Most Fe'i bananas are cooked, but Karat bananas, which are short and squat with bright red skins, very different from the usual yellow dessert bananas, are eaten raw.
In summary, in commerce in Europe and the Americas (although not in small-scale cultivation), it is possible to distinguish between "bananas", which are eaten raw, and "plantains", which are cooked. In other regions of the world, particularly India, Southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific, there are many more kinds of banana and the two-fold distinction is not useful and not made in local languages. Plantains are one of many kinds of cooking bananas, which are not always distinct from dessert bananas.
Farmers in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, 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 of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.
Phytolith discoveries in Cameroon 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 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 if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.
The banana may also have been present in isolated locations elsewhere in the Middle East on the eve of Islam. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada 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, the month of daylight fasting.
Bananas were certainly grown in the Christian Kingdom of Cyprus by the late medieval period. Writing in 1458, the Italian traveller and writer Gabriele Capodilista wrote favourably of the extensive farm produce of the estates at Episkopi, near modern-day Limassol, including the region's banana plantations.
There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means 'You can smell it from the next mountain.' The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.— Mike Peed, The New Yorker
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, 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 the food became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available. Jules Verne 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, including most of Central America. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed more time between harvesting and ripening. North American shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C. Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International and Dole. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (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 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, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.
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.
Peasant sector banana growers 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.
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 cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption. These are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce two shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months.
As a non-seasonal crop, bananas are available fresh year-round.
In global commerce in 2009, by far the most important cultivars belonged to the triploid AAA group of Musa acuminata, commonly referred to as Cavendish group bananas. They accounted 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, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum which attacks the roots of the banana plant. Cavendish cultivars are resistant to the Panama disease, but in 2013 there were fears that the black sigatoka fungus would in turn make Cavendish bananas unviable.
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 programs are attempting to create a disease-resistant, mass-market banana. One such strain that has emerged is the Taiwanese Cavendish, also known as the Formosana.
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 gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color consumers normally associate with supermarket bananas is, in fact, caused by 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 59.0 °F) during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and the bananas turn gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C (39 °F) environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.
Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed" (i.e. not treated with ethylene), and may show up at the supermarket fully green. Guineos verdes (green bananas) that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas can be used for cooking, as seen in Jamaican cuisine.
A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate ester 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 (tetrachromats and pentachromats) to more easily detect ripened bananas.
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 °F). On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C (63 °F) and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process.
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 bag and including an ethylene absorbent, e.g., potassium permanganate, 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.
|Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations Note: Some countries produce statistics distinguishing between bananas and plantain production, but four of the top six producers do not, requiring comparisons using the total for bananas and plantains combined.|
In 2016, world production of bananas and plantains was 148 million tonnes, led by India and China with a combined total (only for bananas) of 28% of global production (table). Other major producers were the Philippines, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Brazil, together accounting for 20% of the world total of bananas and plantains (table).
As reported for 2013, total world exports were 20 million tonnes of bananas and 859,000 tonnes of plantains. Ecuador and the Philippines were the leading exporters with 5.4 and 3.3 million tonnes, respectively, and the Dominican Republic was the leading exporter of plantains with 210,350 tonnes.
Bananas and plantains constitute a major staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. In most tropical countries, green (unripe) bananas used for cooking represent the main cultivars. Most producers are small-scale farmers either for home consumption or local markets. Because bananas and plantains produce fruit year-round, they provide a 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 important for global food security.
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', 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 is caused by a fusarium soil fungus (Race 1), which enters the plants through the roots and travels with water into the trunk and leaves, producing gels and gums that cut off the flow of water and nutrients, causing the plant to wilt, 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. 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), a reinvigorated strain of Panama disease, was first discovered in 1993. This virulent form of fusarium wilt has wiped out Cavendish in several southeast Asian countries and has recently spread to Australia, India and Mozambique. It has yet to reach the Americas; however, the soil-based fungi can easily be carried on boots, clothing, or tools. This is how TR4 travels and will be its most likely route into Latin America. Cavendish is highly susceptible to TR4, and over time Cavendish will almost certainly be eliminated from commercial production by this disease. The only known defense to TR4 is genetic resistance. This is conferred either by RGA2, a gene isolated from a TR4-resistant diploid banana, or by the nematode-derived Ced9.
Black sigatoka is a fungal leaf spot disease first observed in Fiji 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 (including the Cavendish cultivars), impeding photosynthesis 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 prematurely, making them unsuitable for export. The fungus has shown ever-increasing resistance to treatment, with the current expense for treating 1 hectare (2.5 acres) exceeding $1,000 per year. In addition to the expense, there is the question of how long intensive spraying can be environmentally justified.
Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) is a plant virus of the genus Babuvirus, family Nanonviridae affecting Musa spp. (including banana, abaca, plantain and ornamental bananas) and Ensete spp. in the family Musaceae. Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) symptoms include dark green streaks of variable length in leaf veins, midribs and petioles. Leaves become short and stunted as the disease progresses, becoming 'bunched' at the apex of the plant. Infected plants may produce no fruit or the bunch may not emerge from the pseudostem.  The virus is transmitted by the banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa and is widespread in SE Asia, Asia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Oceania and parts of Africa. There is no cure for BBTD, but it can be effectively controlled by the eradication of diseased plants and the use of virus-free planting material. No resistant cultivars have been found, but varietal differences in susceptibility have been reported. The commercially important Cavendish subgroup is severely affected.
Banana bacterial wilt (BBW) is a bacterial disease caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum. After being originally identified on a close relative of bananas, Ensete ventricosum, in Ethiopia in the 1960s, BBW occurred in Uganda in 2001 affecting all banana cultivars. Since then BBW has been diagnosed in Central and East Africa including the banana growing regions of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and Uganda.
Given the narrow range of genetic diversity present in bananas and the many threats via biotic (pests and diseases) and abiotic (such as drought) stress, conservation of the full spectrum of banana genetic resources is ongoing. Banana germplasm is conserved in many national and regional gene banks, and at the world's largest banana collection, the International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC), managed by Bioversity International and hosted at KU Leuven in Belgium. Musa cultivars are usually seedless, and options for their long-term conservation are constrained by the vegetative nature of the plant's reproductive system. Consequently, they are conserved by three main methods: in vivo (planted in field collections), in vitro (as plantlets in test tubes within a controlled environment), and by cryopreservation (meristems conserved in liquid nitrogen at -196 °C). Genes from wild banana species are conserved as DNA and as cryopreserved pollen and banana seeds from wild species are also conserved, although less commonly, as they are difficult to regenerate. In addition, bananas and their crop wild relatives are conserved in situ (in wild natural habitats where they evolved and continue to do so). Diversity is also conserved in farmers' fields where continuous cultivation, adaptation and improvement of cultivars is often carried out by small-scale farmers growing traditional local cultivars.
|Bananas, raw (Daily Value)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||371 kJ (89 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.6 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
Link to USDA Database entry values are for edible portion
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Raw bananas (not including the peel) are 75% water, 23% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contain negligible fat. A 100-gram reference serving supplies 89 Calories, 31% of the US recommended Daily Value (DV) of vitamin B6, and moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber, with no other micronutrients in significant content (see table).
Although bananas are commonly thought to contain exceptional potassium content, their actual potassium content is not high per typical food serving, having only 8% of the US recommended Daily Value for potassium (considered a low level of the DV, see nutrition table), and their potassium-content ranking among fruits, vegetables, legumes, and many other foods is relatively moderate. Vegetables with higher potassium content than raw dessert bananas (358 mg per 100 grams) include raw spinach (558 mg per 100 grams), baked potatoes without skin (391 mg per 100 grams), cooked soybeans (539 mg per 100 grams), grilled portabella mushrooms (437 mg per 100 grams), and processed tomato sauces (413–439 mg per 100 grams). Raw plantains contain 499 mg potassium per 100 grams. Dehydrated dessert bananas or banana powder contain 1491 mg potassium per 100 grams.
Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The primary component of the aroma of fresh bananas is isoamyl acetate (also known as banana oil), which, along with several other compounds such as butyl acetate and isobutyl acetate, is a significant contributor to banana flavor.
During the ripening process, bananas produce the gas ethylene, which acts as a plant hormone and indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme 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, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin 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, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips 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, turón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Bananas are also commonly used in cuisine in the South-Indian state of Kerala, where they are steamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries, fried into chips, (upperi) or fried in batter (pazhampori). Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United Kingdom and United States as banana fritters.
Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.
Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesian cuisine, banana leaf is employed in cooking methods like pepes and botok; banana leaf packages containing food ingredients and spices are cooked in steam or in boiled water, or are grilled on charcoal. When used so for steaming or grilling, the banana leaves protect the food ingredients from burning and add a subtle sweet flavor. In South India, it is customary to serve traditional food on a banana leaf. In Tamil Nadu (India), dried banana leaves are used as to pack food and to make cups to hold liquid food items.
Banana fiber harvested from the pseudostems and leaves of the plant has been used for textiles in Asia since at least the 13th century. Both fruit-bearing and fibrous varieties of the banana plant have been used. In the Japanese system Kijōka-bashōfu, leaves and shoots are cut from the plant periodically to ensure softness. Harvested shoots are first boiled in lye to prepare fibers for yarn-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 tablecloths, while the softest innermost fibers are desirable for kimono and kamishimo. This traditional Japanese cloth-making process requires many steps, all performed by hand.
In India, a banana fiber separator machine has been developed, which takes the agricultural waste of local banana harvests and extracts strands of the fiber.
Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is made from two different parts: the bark of the banana plant, mainly used for artistic purposes, or from the fibers of the stem and non-usable fruits. The paper is either hand-made or by industrial process.
Now I don't think much of the man that throws a banana peelin' on the sidewalk, and I don't think much of the banana peel that throws a man on the sidewalk neither ... my foot hit the bananer peelin' and I went up in the air, and I come down ker-plunk, jist as I was pickin' myself up a little boy come runnin' across the street ... he says, "Oh mister, won't you please do that agin? My little brother didn't see you do it."
In all the important festivals and occasions of Hindus, the serving of bananas plays a prominent part.
In Thailand, it is believed that a certain type of banana plants may be inhabited by a spirit, Nang Tani, a type of ghost related to trees and similar plants that manifests itself as a young woman. Often people tie a length of colored satin cloth around the pseudostem of the banana plants.
There is a long racist history of describing people of African descent as being more like monkeys than humans, and due to the assumption in popular culture that monkeys like bananas, bananas have been used in symbolic acts of hate speech. In April 2014, during a match at Villarreal's stadium, El Madrigal, Dani Alves was targeted by Villareal supporter David Campaya Lleo, who threw a banana at him. Alves picked up the banana, peeled it and took a bite, and the meme went viral on social media in support of him. Racist taunts are an ongoing problem in football. Bananas were hung from nooses around the campus of American University in May 2017 after the student body elected its first black woman student government president.
The human body maintains relatively tight homeostatic control over potassium levels. This means that the consumption of foods containing large amounts of potassium will not increase the body’s potassium content. As such, eating foods like bananas does not increase your annual radiation dose. If someone ingested potassium that had been enriched in K-40, that would be another story.
Banana Republic is an American clothing and accessories retailer owned by the American multinational corporation Gap Inc.
It was founded in 1978, by Mel and Patricia Ziegler with the name "Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company", with a safari theme; in 1983, Gap purchased the company, changed the name to simply "Banana Republic", and gave it a more upscale image. In late 2016, the brand announced Olivia Palermo as its first women's global style ambassador.Banana Wars
The Banana Wars were occupations, police actions, and interventions on the part of the United States in Central America and the Caribbean between the end of the Spanish–American War in 1898 and the inception of the Good Neighbor Policy in 1934. These military interventions were most often carried out by the United States Marine Corps, which developed a manual, The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars (1921) based on its experiences. On occasion, the Navy provided gunfire support and Army troops were also used.
With the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. Thereafter, the United States conducted military interventions in Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The series of conflicts ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti in 1934 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The term was popularized in 1983 by writer Lester D. Langley. Langley wrote several books on Latin American history and American interactions including The United States and the Caribbean, 1900–1970 and The Banana Wars: An Inner History of American Empire, 1900-1934. His book on the Banana Wars encompasses the United States tropical empire that overtook the western hemisphere spanning both of the Roosevelt presidencies. The term was popularized through this writing which portrayed the United States as a police force that was sent to reconcile warring tropical countries, lawless societies and corrupt politicians, establishing a reign over tropical trade.Banana bread
Banana bread is a type of bread made from mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread; however, there are some banana bread recipes that are traditional-style raised breads.Banana cue
A Banana cue or Banana Q (Tagalog: Banana kyu) is a popular snack food or street food in the Philippines. The "cue" in the name is an abbreviation of barbecue, which in Philippine English refers to meat cooked in a style similar to satay.Banana ketchup
Banana ketchup or banana sauce is a popular Philippine fruit ketchup condiment made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Its natural color is brownish-yellow, but it is often dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup. Banana ketchup was made when there was a shortage of tomato ketchup during World War II, due to lack of tomatoes and a comparatively high production of bananas.Banana leaf
Banana leaves have a wide range of applications because they are large, flexible, waterproof and decorative. They are used for cooking, wrapping, and food-serving in a wide range of cuisines in tropical and subtropical areas. They are used for decorative and symbolic purposes in numerous Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies. In traditional homebuilding in tropical areas, roofs and fences are made with dry banana-leaf thatch. Banana and palm leaves were historically the primary writing surfaces in many nations of South and Southeast Asia.Banana republic
In political science, the term banana republic describes a politically unstable country with an economy dependent upon the exportation of a limited-resource product, such as bananas or minerals. In 1901, the American author O. Henry coined the term to describe Honduras and neighbouring countries under economic exploitation by U.S. corporations, such as the United Fruit Company. Typically, a banana republic has a society of extremely stratified social classes, usually a large impoverished working class and a ruling-class plutocracy, composed of the business, political and military elites of that society. Such a ruling-class oligarchy control the primary sector of the economy by way of the exploitation of labour; thus, the term banana republic is a pejorative descriptor for a servile dictatorship that abets and supports, for kickbacks, the exploitation of large-scale plantation agriculture, especially banana cultivation.In economics, a banana republic is a country with an economy of state capitalism, by which economic model the country is operated as a private commercial enterprise for the exclusive profit of the ruling class. Such exploitation is enabled by collusion between the state and favored economic monopolies, in which the profit, derived from the private exploitation of public lands, is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are the financial responsibility of the public treasury. Such an imbalanced economy remains limited by the uneven economic development of town and country, and usually reduces the national currency into devalued banknotes (paper money), rendering the country ineligible for international development credit.Banana split
A banana split is an ice cream-based dessert. In its traditional form it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise (hence the name) and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with three scoops of ice cream (one each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) served between the split banana. A sauce or sauces (chocolate, strawberry, and caramel are traditional) are drizzled onto the ice cream, then crushed nuts (generally peanuts or walnuts is optional.) and whipped cream (optional) , then topped with a maraschino cherry.Cooking banana
Cooking bananas are banana cultivars in the genus Musa whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy. Many cooking bananas are referred to as plantains ( US: , UK: ) or green bananas, although not all of them are true plantains. Bananas are treated as a starchy fruit with a relatively neutral flavour and soft texture when cooked. Bananas fruit all year round, making them a reliable all-season staple food.
Cooking bananas are a major food staple in West and Central Africa, the Caribbean islands, Central America, and northern, coastal parts of South America. Members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago (modern Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines) and Northern Australia. Africa is considered a second centre of diversity for Musa cultivars: West Africa for some plantains and the central highlands for East African Highland bananas (Musa AAA-EAHB; known as matoke in Uganda), most of which are cooked, although some are primarily used to make beer.
The term "plantain" is loosely applied to any banana cultivar that is usually cooked before it is eaten. However, there is no botanical distinction between bananas and plantains. Cooking is also a matter of custom, rather than necessity, for many bananas. In fact, ripe plantains can be eaten raw since their starches are converted to sugars. In some countries, where only a few cultivars of banana are consumed, there may be a clear distinction between plantains and bananas. In other countries, where many cultivars are consumed, there is no distinction in the common names used.In botanical usage, the term "plantain" is used only for true plantains, while other starchy cultivars used for cooking are called "cooking bananas". All modern true plantains have three sets of chromosomes (i.e. they are triploid). Many are hybrids derived from the cross of two wild species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The currently accepted scientific name for all such crosses is Musa × paradisiaca. Using Simmonds and Shepherds' 1955 genome-based nomenclature system, cultivars which are cooked often belong to the AAB Group, although some (e.g. the East African Highland bananas) belong to the AAA Group, and others (e.g. Saba bananas) belong to the ABB Group.
Fe'i bananas (Musa × troglodytarum) from the Pacific Islands are often eaten roasted or boiled, and thus informally referred to as "mountain plantains." However, they do not belong to either of the two species that all modern banana cultivars are descended from.Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
"Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" is a traditional Jamaican folk song; The best-known version was released by American singer Harry Belafonte in 1956 and later became one of his signature songs. That same year The Tarriers released an alternative version that incorporated the chorus of another Jamaican folk song, "Hill and Gully Rider". The Tarriers version was later recorded by Shirley Bassey.
The song has mento influences, but "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" was commonly classified as an example of the better known calypso music. It is a work song, from the point of view of dock workers working the night shift loading bananas onto ships. The lyrics describe how daylight has come, their shift is over, and they want their work to be counted up so that they can go home.Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong is a series of video games featuring the adventures of a gorilla character called Donkey Kong, conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981. The franchise consists mainly of two game genres, but also includes additional spin-off titles of various genres.
The games of the first genre are mostly single-screen platform/action puzzle types, featuring Donkey Kong as the opponent in an industrial construction setting. Donkey Kong first made his appearance in the 1981 arcade machine called Donkey Kong, in which he faced Jumpman (Mario), now Nintendo's flagship character. This game was also the first appearance of Mario, pre-dating the well-known Super Mario Bros. by four years. In 1994, the series was revived as the Donkey Kong Country series, featuring Donkey Kong and his clan of other apes as protagonists in their native jungle setting versus a variety of anthropomorphic enemies, usually against the Kremlings, a clan of crocodiles, and their leader King K. Rool. These are side-scrolling platform games. Titles outside these two genres have included rhythm games (Donkey Konga), racing games (Diddy Kong Racing), and edutainment (Donkey Kong Jr. Math).
A hallmark of the Donkey Kong franchise is barrels, which the Kongs use as weapons, vehicles, furniture, and lodging. The Donkey Kong character is highly recognizable and very popular; the franchise has sold over 40 million units worldwide.Fritter
A fritter is a fried food usually consisting of a portion of batter or breading which has been filled with bits of meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables or other ingredients. Fritters are prepared in both sweet and savory varieties.Magazine (firearms)
A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines can be removable (detachable) or integral (internal/fixed) to the firearm. The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored within it into a position where they may be loaded into the barrel chamber by the action of the firearm. The detachable magazine is often colloquially referred to as a clip, although this is technically inaccurate.Magazines come in many shapes and sizes, from tubular magazines on lever-action rifles that tend to hold fewer rounds, to detachable box and drum magazines for automatic rifles and machine guns that can hold more than one hundred rounds. Various jurisdictions ban what they define as "high-capacity magazines".Peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich
The peanut butter and Lucy banana sandwich, or peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, sometimes referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply the Elvis, consists of toasted bread slices with peanut butter, sliced or mashed banana, and sometimes bacon. Honey is seen in some variations of the sandwich. The sandwich is frequently cooked in a pan or on a griddle. The recipe for the sandwich has been published in numerous cookbooks and newspaper stories. It is sold commercially in restaurants that specialize in peanut butter sandwiches, such as Peanut Butter & Co.Saba banana
Saba banana is a triploid hybrid (ABB) 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. It is also sometimes known as the cardaba banana, though the latter name may be more correctly applied to a very similar cultivar also classified within the saba subgroup.Swim briefs
A swim brief or racing brief is any briefs-style male swimsuit such as those worn in competitive swimming and diving. The popularity of the Australian Speedo brand racing brief has led to the use of its name in many countries around the world (e.g. the United States, New Zealand, UK, Europe and mostly the Philippines) to refer to any racing brief, regardless of the maker. Occasionally, the Speedo genericized trademark also applies to square cut swimsuit, but in general the generic term is used in reference to swim briefs. Swim briefs are also referred to as competition briefs, swimming trunks, bathers, racer bathers, posing briefs, racing briefs, and colloquially in Australia as "budgie smugglers".Like underwear briefs, swim briefs feature a V-shape front and a solid back providing form-fitting coverage. They typically are worn below the lower waist. They are generally secured by thin banding at the upper thighs and either a drawstring around the waist or an elastic waistband. Swim briefs are most often made of a nylon and spandex (Lycra) composite, while some longer-lasting suits are made from polyester and still others from other materials. Most swim briefs have a beige or white front lining made of a similar fabric.The Banana Splits
The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was an hour-long, packaged television variety program featuring the Banana Splits, a fictional rock band composed of four funny animal characters. The costumed hosts of the show were Fleegle (guitar, vocals), Bingo (drums, vocals), Drooper (bass, vocals) and Snorky (keyboards, effects).
The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera, and ran for 31 episodes on NBC Saturday mornings, from September 7, 1968, to September 5, 1970, and in syndication from 1971 to 1982. The costumes and sets were designed by Sid and Marty Krofft, and the series' sponsor was Kellogg's Cereals. The show featured both live action and animated segments, and was Hanna-Barbera's first foray into mixing live action with animation.Turon (food)
Turon (Tagalog pronunciation: [tuˈɾɔn]; Spanish: turrón de banana or turrón de plátano), also known as lumpiyang saging (Filipino for "banana lumpia"), is a Philippine snack made of thinly sliced bananas (preferably saba or Cardaba bananas) and a slice of jackfruit, dusted with brown sugar, rolled in a spring roll wrapper and fried. Other fillings can also be used, including sweet potato, mango, cheddar cheese and coconut.
Turon is a popular snack and street food amongst Filipinos. These are usually sold along streets with banana cue, camote cue, and maruya.
In Malabon, the term "turrón" or "turon" instead refers to a fried, lumpia-wrapper-enveloped dessert filled with sweet mung bean; while valencia is used for the banana-filled variety. Malabon banana turon are generally sold as valencia trianggulo, which are uniquely triangle-shaped.United Fruit Company
The United Fruit Company was an American corporation that traded in tropical fruit (primarily bananas), grown on Latin American plantations, and sold in the United States and Europe. The company was formed in 1899, from the merger of Minor C. Keith's banana-trading concerns with Andrew W. Preston's Boston Fruit Company. It flourished in the early and mid-20th century, and it came to control vast territories and transportation networks in Central America, the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Ecuador, and the West Indies. Though it competed with the Standard Fruit Company (later Dole Food Company) for dominance in the international banana trade, it maintained a virtual monopoly in certain regions, some of which came to be called banana republics, such as Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala.United Fruit 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 banana republics. After a period of financial decline, United Fruit was merged with Eli M. Black's AMK in 1970, to become the United Brands Company. In 1984, Carl Lindner, Jr. transformed United Brands into the present-day Chiquita Brands International.
Bananas and plantains