Sunday, April 17, 2011

Introduction to banana

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from the two wild species Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names 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 and Fe'i bananas, neither of which belong to the Musa genus. Enset bananas belong to the genus Ensete while the taxonomy of Fe'i-type cultivars is uncertain.

In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains 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 and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants.

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 6 to 7.6 metres (20 to 24.9 ft) tall, growing from a corm. 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 (2.0 ft) wide.
They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.
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.) The inflorescence contains many bracts (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, 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 30–50 kilograms (66–110 lb). 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 grams (0.28 lb), of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter. 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 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 grow pointing up, not hanging down.

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their high potassium content, and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. Proponents of nuclear power sometimes refer to the banana equivalent dose of radiation to support their arguments.

Banana Cultivation

 Early cultivation

Southeast Asian farmers 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 AD. 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 c400CE.

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

The banana may have been present in isolated locations of the Middle East on the eve of Islam. There is some textual evidence that the prophet Muhammad was familiar with bananas. 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 introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century. The word banana is of West African origin, from the Wolof language, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.

Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines.
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

Plantation cultivation

In the 15th and 16th century, 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 it 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).

In the early 20th century, bananas formed the basis of large commercial empires, exemplified by the United Fruit Company, which created immense plantations especially in Central and South America. These were usually commercially exploitative, and the term "Banana republic" was coined for states like Honduras and Guatemala, representing the fact that these companies and their political backers created and abetted "servile dictatorships" whose primary motivation was to protect the companies.

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 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 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 formation dictates.

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, which makes them sterile and unable to produce viable seeds. Lacking seeds, propagation typically involves 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 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, although this takes somewhat longer.

In some countries, commercial propagation occurs by means of tissue culture. 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).

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

Ripening of Bnanana

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 normally associated with supermarket 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 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 °F) environment of a domestic refrigerator, 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,[citation needed] 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 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 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.

Storage and transport of Banana

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. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold.[citation needed] Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. They can be stored indefinitely frozen, then eaten like an ice pop or cooked as a banana mush.

Recent studies have suggested that carbon dioxide (which bananas produce) and ethylene absorbents extend fruit life even at high temperatures.This effect can be exploited by packing the fruit 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.

Banana Trade

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. Bananas are cooked in ways that are similar to potatoes. Both can be fried, boiled, baked, or chipped and have similar taste and texture when served. One banana provides about the same calories as one potato.

In 2009, India 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 statistics.

Most producers are small-scale farmers 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.

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, Del Monte, Dole, and Fyffes grow their own bananas in Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. 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" or Rainforest Alliance-certified in some countries.

The banana has an extensive trade history beginning with the founding of the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) at the end of the 19th century. For much of the 20th century, bananas and coffee dominated the export economies of Central America. In the 1930s, bananas and coffee 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 based its business almost entirely on the banana trade, because the coffee trade proved too difficult to control. The term "banana republic" has been applied to most countries in Central America, but from a strict economic perspective only Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama had economies dominated by the banana trade.

The European Union has traditionally imported many of their bananas from former European Caribbean 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. 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 14,000 tonnes (14,000 LT; 15,000 ST) were grown in Hawaii in 2001. Bananas were once grown in Florida and southern California.

Banana Varieties

Most of the  commercial banana plants are perfect clones of one another and most originate from one single plant from Southeast Asia. Now to be clear, there are approximately 1000 different types of banana plants in the world today and within each variety most are generally clones of one another, although some do have a bit of genetic diversification. But “the” banana, since the 1960s, the one sold commercially in supermarkets the world over, is the Cavendish banana.

Most types of bananas originate from hybrids of the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. When these two cross breed, the result is a half breed banana plant that is almost completely sterile.  

Dwarf Cavendish (AAA) :

It is a popular commercial cultivar grown extensively for table and processing purpose in the states
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal. It is also popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra
duper wdarf patio - musa

Pradesh. 'Basrai' is the leading commercial variety of Cavendish group and is a leading commercial
variety of Maharashtra. The plant stature is Dwarf making it less prone to wind damage.

The bunch
size, the fruit length and size is quite good though the keeping quality is rather poor. The average
bunch weight with 6-7 hands and with about 13 fruits per hand is about 15-25 kg. The thick rind of the
fruits retains to some extent the greenish colour even when the fruits are ripe. Gandevi selection
miniature banana plant

known as 'Hanuman' or 'Padarre' is gaining importance inspite of its longer crop duration. The
selection yields bunches weighing 55-60 kg. Performs well under light soils with high inputs. In
combination with high-density planting and drip irrigation, Dwarf Cavendish is becoming a highly
successful cultivar. It is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics restricting its
commercial cultivation.

Robusta (AAA) :

It is a semi-tall variety, grown mostly in Tamil Nadu and some parts of Karnataka for table purpose.
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is a high yielding and produces bunch of large size with well
developed fruits.

Dark green fruits turn bright yellow upon ripening depending on ripening conditions.
Fruit is very sweet with a good aroma. Bunch weighs about 25-30 kg. Requires propping. Fruit has a
poor keeping quality leading to a quick breakdown of pulp after ripening, hence not suited for long
distance transportation. Robusta is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics.

Rasthali (Silk AAB) :

It is a medium tall variety commercially grown in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and
Bihar. Its unique fruit quality has made Rasthali popular and a highly prized cultivar for table purpose.

Fruits are yellowish green throughout their development, but turn pale yellow to golden yellow after
ripening. Fruit is very tasty with a good aroma. Longer crop duration, severe susceptibility to Fusarium
wilt, requirement of bunch cover to protect fruits from sun cracking and formation of hard lumps in fruits
make crop production more expensive.

Poovan (Mysore AAB) :

It is a leading commercial cultivar grown throughout the country with location specific ecotypes like
palayankodan in Kerala, Poovan in Tamil Nadu, Karpura Chakkarakeli in Andhra Pradesh and Alpan in
North Eastern Region. It is generally cultivated as a perennial crop. Tamil Nadu is the leading producer
of Poovan cultivar owing to its climatic and marginal soil condition.

Poovan is also commercially
cultivated for leaf industry throughout Tamil Nadu and in certain parts of Kerala. Fruit is slightly acidic,
firm and has typical sour-sweet aroma. Fruits turn to attractive golden yellow on ripening. Medium
sized bunch, closely packed fruits, good keeping quality and resistant to fruit cracking is its plus points.
But it is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Viral (BBMV) disease and Banana Streak Virus,
(BSV), which cause considerable reduction in yield.

Nendran (AAB) :

It is a popular variety in Kerala where it is relished as a fruit as well as used for processing.
Commercial cultivation of Nendran has picked up rapidly in Tamil Nadu in the recent past.

Nendran is
known to display considerable diversity in plant stature, pseudostem colour, presence or absence of
male axis, bunch size, etc. Bunch has 5-6 hands weighing about 12-15 kg. Fruits have a distinct neck
with thick green skin turning buff yellow on ripening. Fruits remain as starchy even on ripening.
Nendran is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Virus (BBMV), nematodes and borers.

Red Banana (AAA) :

Red banana is the most relished and highly prized variety of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its commercial
cultivation is prominent in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu.

It is also popular in
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and to some extent in Western and Central India. In Bihar and other
regions, it is popular as Lal Velchi while in Karnataka as Chandra Bale. The colour of the pseudostem,
petiole, midrib and fruit rind is purplish red. It is a robust plant with bunches weighing 20-30 kg under
good management practices. Fruits are sweet, orange yellow coloured and with a pleasant aroma. It is
highly susceptible to bunchy top, fusarium wilt and nematodes.

Ney Poovan (AB) :

Ney Poovan is the choicest diploid cultivar, which is under commercial mono cultivation on a large
scale especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala It is grown in backyards and now shifting to
large-scale cultivation.

Ney Poovan is a slender plant bearing bunches of 15-30 kg after 12-14 months.
Dark green fruits turn golden yellow with a very good keeping quality. Fruit is highly fragrant, tasty,
powdery and firm. Ney Poovan is tolerant to leaf spot but susceptible to Fusarium wilt and banana bract
mosaic virus.

Virupakashi (AAB) :

It is an elite variety in South India especially grown for table purpose in Palani and Shevroy hills of
Tamil Nadu under perennial cultivation. It is a vigorous and hardy variety though not a prolific one.
Fruits show a typical curvature, possess a pleasant aroma and delightful taste.

Virupakshi has the
characteristic flavour only when they are cultivated in higher elevation. In the mixed cultivation it is well
suited as a shade plant for young coffee. It has many ecotypes like 'Sirumalai' (grown on hills),
'Vannan', 'Kali' etc. well suited for cultivation in plains. Perennial system of cultivation aggravates
Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV).

Pachanadan (AAB) :

It is a popular variety in Tamil Nadu grown especially for its cooling effects in hot tracts in summer. The
variety comes up well in marginal soils without any yield reduction. It is well suited as an intercrop in
coconut/arecanut garden.

The bunch weight ranges from 12-15 kg (after 11-12 months). Pachanadan
could be used in the Nendran plantations for gap filling as it comes up for harvest along with Nendran.
This variety is tolerant to leaf spot and Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, but susceptible to
wilt disease.

Monthan (ABB) :

It is a widely cultivated variety for processing. Monthan is a fairly tall and robust plant bearing bunches
of 18-20 kg after 12 months. Fruits are bold, stocky, knobbed and pale green in colour. The skin is
usually green. The new prolific 'Monthan' type clones of economic value namely 'Kanchi Vazhai' and
'Chakkia' are recently becoming popular in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from its culinary use of fruits,
pseudostem core is a highly relished vegetable with many medicinal properties. Monthan is also
cultivated for production of leaves in Trichy and Tanjore districts of Tamil Nadu. It has many desirable
qualities like immunity to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, salt tolerance and normal bunch
mass even under marginal condition, but it is highly susceptible to Fusarium wilt disease.

Karpuravalli (ABB) :

It is a popular variety grown for table purpose in medium rich soils. Its commercial cultivation is spread
over in Central and Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Bihar, cultivation is in patches under
the name 'Kanthali'. Karpuravalli is a tall, robust plant well suited to marginal lands and soils, produced
under low input conditions.

It is also the sweetest among Indian bananas. Karpuravalli is occasionally
seeded depending on the seasonal variability. Its ash coated golden yellow and sweet fruits have good
keeping quality. Karpuravalli is highly susceptible to wilt disease, tolerant to leaf spot disease and well
suited for drought, salt affected areas and for low input conditions.

 Safed Velchi Musa (A B Group) :

This is considered a good quality fruit for table purpose and is cultivated in the Thane, Nasik districts
of Maharashtra. It is grown under the shade of arecanut gardens in the South Kanara districts of

 This variety is mediumsized with slender yellowish green pseudostem and can be
recognised by the reddish petiole margin, large fruits, very thin and papery rind and white firm flesh that
is very sweet. The average bunch weight is about 12 kg with about 150 fruits/bunch. The duration of the
variety is about 13 months.

Exotic Varieties :

pisang masak hijau banana plants
         -Dwarf Cavendish
         -Giant Cavendish
         -Pisang masak hijau
pisang masak hijau banana

         -Ice Cream
         -Enano Gigante
orinoco banana from USA

orinoco banana plants from USA

         -Santa Catarina Silver
         - Brazilian
         -Dwarf Cavendish
South Africa
         -Dwarf Cavendish
         -Golden Beauty
         -Goldfinger banana - This is one of the few other somewhat accepted varieties of banana , which doesn’t taste like the Cavendish or Gros Michel at all, rather tastes a bit like an apple. This variety was a
musa goldfinger banana from Australia

hybrid bred banana created by Philip Rowe. It did not catch on commercially in most of the world, excepting parts of Australia.      

East Africa,Thailand
          -Common Dwarf
philipines common wdarf varieties banana

          -Common Dwarf,
workers packing bananas

lakatan banan plant fromphilipines
          -Philippine Lakatan
ripen lakatan banana

giant cavendish banana from Taiwan

          -Giant Cavendish
giant cavendish banana
For the past decade or so, workers in Brussels, Belgium, have been working to decode and manipulate the banana’s genes. Their goal is to create a modified Cavendish banana that is resistant to the new strain of Panama disease, as well as the less threatening Black Sigatoka (a kind of worm), which also kills Cavendish banana plants.

Uses of banana

Food and cooking


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 skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. Bananas' flavor is due, amongst other chemicals, to isoamyl acetate which is one of the main constituents of banana oil.

During the ripening process, bananas produce a plant hormone called ethylene, which 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, turrón, and halo-halo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. 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), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana,
are sold in markets in Indonesia.


Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups and curries. 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. Especially in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu 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.


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.

Potential health effects

Bananas contain moderate amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and potassium.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

Banana ingestion may affect dopamine production in people deficient in the amino acid tyrosine, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.

In India, juice is extracted from the corm and used as a home remedy for jaundice, sometimes with the addition of honey, and for kidney stones.

Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.


The banana plant has long been a source of fiber for high quality textiles. In Japan, 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 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 a Nepalese 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 for use in rugs with a silk-like texture. These banana fiber rugs are woven by traditional Nepalese hand-knotting methods, and are sold RugMark certified.

In South Indian state of Tamil Nadu after harvesting for fruit the trunk (outer layer of the shoot) is made into fine thread used in making of flower garlands instead of thread.


Banana fiber is used in the production of banana paper. Banana paper is used in two different senses: to refer to a paper made from the bark 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.


In Burma, bunches of green bananas surrounding a green coconut in a tray form an important part of traditional offerings to the Buddha and the Nats.

In all the important festivals and occasions of Tamils the serving of bananas plays a prominent part. The banana (Tamil:வாழை or வாழைப்பழம்) is one of three fruits with this significance, the others being mango and jack fruit.

Bananas are also frequently used as a phallic symbol, as typified by the artwork of the debut album of The Velvet Underground, 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.
East Africa

Most farms supply local consumption. Cooking bananas represent a major food source and a major income source for smallhold farmers. In East African highlands bananas are of greatest importance as a staple food crop. In countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda per capita consumption has been estimated at 45 kilograms (99 lb) per year, the highest in the world.

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 umbrellas when the pseudostems are tied together to form a floatation device.
Banana peel may have capability to extract heavy metal contamination from river water, similar to other purification materials.

Banana Diseases

Bacterial diseases


Bacterial diseases
Bacterial wilt Pseudomonas solanacearum (race 1)
Blood disease Pseudomonas spp.
Bugtok Pseudomonas solanacearum (race 2)
Finger tip rot (gumming) Pseudomonas spp.
Rhizome rot Erwinia carotovora
Erwinia chrysanthemi
Javanese vasular wilt Pseudomonas spp.
Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW), Banana bacterial wilt, enset wilt Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum

Fungal diseases

Fungal diseases
Anthracnose Colletotrichum musae
Armillaria corn rot Armillaria mellea
Armillaria tabescens
Black cross Phyllachora musicola
Black leaf streak (black sigatoka) Mycosphaerella fijiensis
Paracercospora fijiensis [anamorph]
Black root rot Rosellinia bunodes
Brown blotch Pestalotiopsis leprogena
Brown spot Cercospora hayi
Ceratocystis fruit rot Ceratocystis paradoxa
Chalara paradoxa [anamorph]
Cigar-end Verticillium theobromae
Trachysphaera fructigena
Cladosporium speckle Cladosporium musae
Corm dry rot Junghuhnia vincta
Cordana leaf spot Cordana johnstonii
Cordana musae
Crown rot Fusarium pallidoroseum
Colletotrichum musae
Verticillium theobromae
Fusarium spp.
Acremonium spp.
Cylindrocladium root rot Cylindrocladium spp.
Damping-off Deightoniella torulosa
Deightoniella fruit speckle, leaf spot and tip rot Deightoniella torulosa
Diamond spot Cercospora hayi Fusarium spp.
Dwarf Cavendish tip rot Nattrassia mangiferae
= Hendersonula toruloidea
Eyespot Drechslera gigantea
Fruit freckle (freckle) Guignardia musae
Phyllosticta musarum [anamorph]
Fruit rot Botryosphaeria ribis
Fungal root-rot Fusarium solani
Nectria haematococca [teleomorph]
Fusarium oxysporum
Rhizoctonia spp.
Fungal scald Colletotrichum musae
Fusarium wilt (Panama disease) Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense
Leaf rust Uredo musae
Uromyces musae
Leaf speckle Acrodontium simplex
Leaf spot Curvularia eragrostidis
Leaf spot Drechslera musae-sapientum
Leaf spot Leptosphaeria musarum
Leaf spot Pestalotiopsis disseminata
Main stalk rot Ceratocystis paradoxa
Malayan leaf spot Haplobasidion musae
Marasmiellus rot Marasmiellus inoderma
= Marasmius semiustus
Moko Pseudomonas solanacearum (race 2)
Peduncle rot Lasiodiplodia theobromae
Fusarium pallidoroseum
Fusarium oxysporum
Verticillium theobromae
Pestalotiopsis leaf spot Pestalotiopsis palmarum
Phaeoseptoria leaf spot Phaeoseptoria musae
Pitting Pyricularia grisea
Pseudostem heart rot Fusarium moniliforme
Gibberella fujikuroi [teleomorph]
Root & rhizome rot Cylindrocarpon musae
Sclerotinia fruit rot Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Septoria leaf spot Mycosphaerella eumusae [sexual stage]
Septoria eumusae [anamorph]
Sheath rot Nectria foliicola
Mycosphaerella musicola
Pseudocercospora musae [anamorph]
Sooty mold Limacinula tenuis
Speckle Mycosphaerella musae
Squirter (black end disease) Nigrospora sphaerica
Stem-end rot Colletotrichum musae
Trachysphaera finger rot Trachysphaera fructigena
Tropical speckle Ramichloridium musae
= Veronaea musae
= Periconiella musae
Verticillium tip rot Verticillium theobromae

Viral diseases

Viral diseases
Bract mosaic Banana bract mosaic virus
Bunchy top Banana bunchy top virus
Mosaic Cucumber mosaic virus
Streak Banana streak virus
Banana mild mosaic Banana mild mosaic virus
Banana virus X Banana virus X

Nematodes, parasitic

Nematodes, parasitic
Nematode root rot (burrowing nematode) Radopholus similis
Root-knot Meloidogyne arenaria
Meloidogyne incognita
Meloidogyne javanica
Root-lesion Pratylenchus coffeae
Pratylenchus goodeyi
Pratylenchus brachyurus
Pratylenchus reniformia
Spiral nematode root damage Helicotylenchus multicinctus
Helicotylenchus dihystera

Miscellaneous diseases and disorders

Miscellaneous diseases and disorders
Alligator skin Light abrasions on fruit peel caused by leaves or bracts
Blue disease Magnesium deficiency
Choke Low winter temperatures
Dwarfism Genetic mutation
Elephantiasis Unknown cause
Fruit chimera Genetic mutation
Fused fingers Genetic defect
Giantism Genetic mutation
Heart leaf unfurling disorder Unknown cause
High mat Unknown cause
Leaf edge chlorosis Unknown cause
Maturity bronzing Unknown cause
Rayadilla Zinc deficiency
Rosetting Nitrogen deficiency
Roxana Unknown cause
Spike leaf Low winter temperatures
Split peel Rapid filling of pulp of fruit
Taiwan marginal scorch Unknown cause
"Segmented Banana"
Chilling injury to fruit One of the less common plantain diseases is exostentialis clittellus referred to by most plantain and banana farmers as "segmented banana". This is a result of the peel forming tiny inter-fruit membranes which cause the banana to appear as though it has been sliced before it is peeled. This is generally a result of freezing the fruit, and occurs most commonly in fruit that is sold in large stores or supermarkets.
Yellow mat Unknown cause
Yellow pulp Delay in fruit filling, drought, excessive shading, magnesium deficiency, poor nutrition
Yellows Lack of water
Neer Vazhai Unknown etiology
Kottai Vazhai or seediness in Parthenocarpic Poovan banana Unknown etiology, probably due to BSV infection

Introduction to bittergourd(bitter melon)

                                                                                    Scientific classification
Kingdom         : Plantae
(unranked)      : Angiosperms
(unranked)      : Eudicots
(unranked)      : Rosids
Order             : Cucurbitales
Family            : Cucurbitaceae
Genus             : Momordica
Species           : M. charantia
Binomial name : Momordica charantia

Momordica charantia, called bitter melon or bitter gourd in English, is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all fruits. There are many varieties that differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.
This is a plant of the tropics, but its original native range is unknown.

In some English texts the plant or the fruit may be called by its local names, which include kǔguā (苦瓜 "bitter gourd", in Chinese), pare or pare ayam (in Javanese and Indonesian), కాకరకాయ in Telugu, ಹಾಗಲಕಾಯಿ in Kannada, Pavayka or Kayppayka in Malayalam, goya (ゴーヤー) or nigauri (in Japanese, the former from an Okinawan language), paakharkaai (பாகற்காய், in Tamil), karela/karella (in other languages of India and Nepal), ampalayá (in Tagalog), muop dang (mướp đắng) or kho qua (khổ qua, in Vietnamese), caraille/carilley (in Trinidad and Tobago), carilla (in Guyana), and cerasee/cerasse (in the Caribbean and South America).

This herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 meters. It bears simple, alternate leaves 4–12 cm across, with 3–7 deeply separated lobes. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. In the Northern Hemisphere, flowering occurs during June to July and fruiting during September to November.

The fruit has a distinct warty exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. The fruit is most often eaten green, or as it is beginning to turn yellow. At this stage, the fruit's flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, similar to cucumber, chayote or green bell pepper, but bitter. The skin is tender and edible. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits; they are not intensely bitter and can be removed before cooking.

As the fruit ripens, the flesh becomes tougher, more bitter, and too distasteful to eat. On the other hand, the pith becomes sweet and intensely red; it can be eaten uncooked in this state, and is a popular ingredient in some southeast Asian salads.

When the fruit is fully ripe it turns orange and mushy, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp.