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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana (Musa spp.) is one of the world's most important crops cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Banana is a major source of macro-elements, especially potassium, and contains health-beneficial ingredients such as resistant starch, total dietary fibers, rapidly digestible starch, and slowly digestible starch. Oligosaccharides (fructooligosaccharides and inulin) and polyphenols ((+)-catechin, (−)-epicatechin, (−)-epigallocatechin, and gallic acid) are other ingredients present in bananas that have found application in the prevention of muscular contractions, regulation of blood pressure, prevention of colon cancer and diabetes, and in the cure of intestinal disorders when unripe. This review identifies the different commercial and noncommercial banana cultivars and their utilization. Commercial cultivars include Williams (M. acuminata cv. Williams), Dwarf Cavendish (M. acuminata cv. Petite Nain), Chinese Cavendish (M. acuminata cv. Chinese Cavendish), Grand Nain (M. acuminata cv. Grand Nain), and Goldfinger (M. acuminata cv. Goldfinger), with Mabounde and Luvhele identified as noncommercial varieties. Banana postharvest utilization includes its use as functional foods, prebiotics, probiotics, nutraceuticals, and processing into value-added products.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana, an herbaceous climacteric fruit, represents one of the most significant fruit crops and the 5th most important crop in world export trade after coffee, cereals, sugar, and cocoa (Schieber and others 2001; Aurore and others 2009). Banana is cultivated in tropical, subtropical, and mostly developing countries of the world with 71 million metric tons of desert banana mainly from the Cavendish cultivars and 32 million tons of plantain harvested in 2004 (Aurore and others 2009). World production statistics of banana are not very accurate as production of fruits in many countries is still at subsistence level of home gardens and small plots that are not often captured in reports (Sole 2005). South Africa in 2010 was ranked 67 in world banana production, contributing 0.07% of produce to total world banana trade. South Africa produces an estimated 400,000 tons of banana fruits per annum (DAFF 2011) with the fruit cultivated either for the export market or local consumption.

Banana fruit comprises an array of species in the genus Musa of the family Musaceae, with the majority of cultivated varieties arising from the Eumusa species. Two species from the Eumusa group have been traced as the source of almost the majority of known cultivars: Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome) species (Daniells and others 2001). Banana has diploid, triploid, and tetraploid hybrids comprising subspecies of M. acuminata, and between M. acuminata and M. balbisiana (Stover and Simmonds 1987; Robinson 1996; Zhang and others 2005), with the haploid contributions of the individual species to the cultivars being distinguished with the letters A and B. The main genome groups, some of which are also present in Limpopo province (Table 1), are AA, AB, AAA, AAB, and ABB (Stover and Simmonds 1987; Aurore and others 2009). Dispersal due to human activities has led to the diploid and triploid M. acuminata cultivars being in use in areas such as South East Asia where M. balbisiana is native. This has led to natural hybridization that brought about the development of hybrid progeny having genomes AB, AAB, and ABB (Daniells and others 2001). M. balbisiana is the more disease-and drought-resistant species, which is a characteristic of cultivars having the B genome (Price 1995).

Table 1. Global representation of banana and plantain cultivars
GroupSubgroupCultivarFruit usageGeographic distribution
  1. Source: Daniells and others 2001; Aurore and others 2009.

AASucrierFraysinetteSweet dessertAll continents
  Figue sucree  
 Pisang Lilin DessertIndonesia, Malaysia
 Pisang Berangan Dessert 
 Lakatan Dessert 
 InarnibalInarnibalDessertPhilippines
AAAGros MichelGros MichelDessertAll continents
  HighgateDessert 
 CavendishLacatan,DessertExporter countries
  Poyo.  
  Grand Nain  
  Williams  
  Petite Nain  
 RedFigue roseDessertAll continents
  Green red  
 LujugiraIntuntu,Cooking, BeerEast African highland
  Mujuba,Cooking, Beer 
  Mudwale, DessertCooking,
  Luwata, DessertCooking, 
  Butende, DessertCooking, 
  Zisu,Beer 
  EnywamaiziBeer 
     
AAAAChampa Nasik Dessert 
  Pisang Ustrali Brazil
AAABGoldfingerGoldfingerDessertAmerica, Australia
ABNey PoovanSafet Velchi,DessertIndia, East Africa
  SukariDessert 
AABFigue PommeMaca, SilkDessertAll continents
 PomePrataDessertBrazil, India,
 MysorePisang CeylanDessertIndia, Malaysia
 LaknauLaknauCooking 
 PopouluMangaro Torotea,CookingPacific Island
  AinuCooking 
 PlantainFrench, HornCookingAfrica, Carribean
  CorneCooking 
ABBBluggoeBluggoeCookingPhilippines, America
 Poteau Cooking 
 Pisang AwakFougamouDessert 
ABBB Klue TerapodCooking 
BBBSabaSabaCookingIndonesia, Malaysia

Banana is a starchy fruit having rich contents of indigestible compounds; resistant starch (RS) and nonstarch polysaccharides make up its DF (Ovando-Martinez and others 2009). At its unripe state, banana pulp contains about 70% to 80% starch on dry weight basis, which is similar to starch content in endosperm of corn and pulp of white potato. Upon ripening, this starch content is degraded to less than 1% with a concomitant accumulation of sucrose and fructose when the fruit becomes fully ripe. There is thus an increase in sugars, mostly sucrose constituting more than 10%, and total soluble sugar of about 16% or more of fresh weight of fruit (Zhang and others 2005).

Although banana is produced at any time of the year and widely consumed fresh in most parts of the world, its conversion into processed products, as well as the consumption of these products is slowly developing (Sole 2005). Optimization of banana processing for bioavailability and utilization of nutrients available in this fruit should be scaled up. This review therefore seeks to examine various cultivars of banana with a view to determining the nutritional and functional ingredients, suitability for industrial utilization and product development, and thereby availing concise information for farmers, exporters, and food processors.

Banana Cultivation

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana is cultivated mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Areas of cultivation include Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and the Philippines in Asia, Brazil in South America, Costa Rica in North America, Nigeria and Cameroun in West Africa, the highlands of East Africa, the Caribbean, and Australia (Aurore and others 2009). In South Africa, the fruit is cultivated both as cash and food crops in areas such as Durban, North and South Coast Kwa-Zulu Natal, Levubu and Letaba in Limpopo, and Onderberg and Kiepersol in Mpumalanga (SABGA 2010). Cultivated varieties include commercial and local varieties grown majorly for export and local consumption. Cavendish (Musa cavendishii), a worldwide cultivated commercial subgroup banana grown mainly for the export market, is a pure triploid M. acuminata (AAA) and its cultivars include: Lacatan, Poyo, Williams, Grand Nain, and Petite Nain (Aurore and others 2009). Other commercial varieties are the Chinese Cavendish, Dwarf Cavendish, and Gros Michel, while some identified local varieties include Mabounde and Luvhele (Figure 1). The commercial cultivars are grown and harvested all year round for international and local sales, while the local cultivars are grown mostly in household gardens for local consumption.

image

Figure 1. Some commercial (Williams, Grand Nain, Dwarf Cavendish, and Goldfinger) and noncommercial (Mabounde, Luvhele) banana cultivars.

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Cooking bananas (plantain)

Cooking bananas, equally referred to as plantain, is a starchy, low-sugar fruit that is a hybrid of triploid cultivars belonging to the AAB, ABB, or BBB group and are grown mostly in West and Central Africa tropical zones. They are cooked before being consumed both at ripe and unripe stages of maturity and used in many savory dishes in some parts of Africa (Price 1995). Plantain is also edible raw when fully ripe (Robinson 1996; Zhang and others 2005). Their carbohydrate content is equally as high as the dessert banana (Table 2); and usually has starchy flesh that is basically unpalatable unless boiled. Cooking bananas can also be used as unprocessed materials for beer, wine, flour, and in crisps/chips produced at domestic levels (Robinson 1996; Lemaire and others 1997; Akubor and others 2003; Carreno and Aristizabal 2003; Aurore and others 2009). Plantain has been less prone to browning than banana such that it retains a stable orange color on being cooked and does not easily undergo maillard reaction prior to cooking (Ngalani and others 1993; Yang and others 2004).

Table 2. Proximate composition of banana (Musa AAA Cavendish) and plantain (Musa AAB Plantain) pulps
 RipeUnripe
 BananaPlantainBananaPlantain
  1. NA: Not available. Source: Woolfe 1992; Robinson 1996; Lassoudiere 2007; Aurore and others 2009; Wang and others 2012.

Proximate (%)    
Water75.766.469.063.0
Carbohydrate22.231.228.724.3
Protein1.11.11.40.8
Fat0.20.4NANA
Ash0.80.9NANA
Minerals (mg 100 g-1)    
Phosphorus22302732
Potassium385500460440
Calcium83714
Magnesium30353632
Iron0.420.60.90.5
Zinc0.18NANA0.1
Vitamin content (mg 100 g-1)    
Thiamine0.040.080.040.05
Riboflavin0.070.040.020.05
Pantothenic acid0.26NANA0.37
Pyridoxine0.51NANANA
Ascorbic acid10203120

Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana is a climacteric fruit; showing an increase in size and carbohydrate deposit in the form of starch as the fruit undergoes maturity (Thompson and Burden 1995). Maturity indices for harvest of fruits include age of bunch after emergence from pseudostem, cross-sectional angularity of fruits, pulp-to-peel ratio of fruits, length and diameter of fingers, brittleness of flower end of fruit bunch, and firmness of fruit. Other factors that can determine harvest of fruits are marketable life and target market for which fruit is intended (Thompson and Burden 1995; Robinson 1996). These factors vary from country to country and depend on the expected green life required by the fruit before the onset of ripening. Fruit cultivated for export are harvested green at 75% maturity, when fingers are said to be 3-quarters round, while fruit required for local markets could be harvested when fully mature (Robinson 1996; Nakasone and Paull 1998).

Harvesting of cultivated produce plays a vital role in the determination of quality and price of harvested fruits. Factors such as incorrect harvesting, transport, packing, and storage techniques can result in physiological damage of fruit thereby undermining the quality and market price of the produce (Robinson 1996). Bananas are harvested through a process called dehanding that is a method of severing the pad tissue that attaches the bunch to the main stem. The bunch is supported with a pole and slowly lowered to the shoulder pad of the harvester for onward transportation to the packing station (Thompson and Burden 1995; Robinson 1996; Nakasone and Paull 1998). Dehanding is either carried out in the field, a process referred to as field-dehanding or in the pack station that, if not properly handled, can lead to considerable damage to quality of the fruit or to microbial infection (Thompson and Burden 1995). Modern methods of harvesting involve the use of an elaborate network of cableways in farms. This has reduced greatly the labor required in harvesting and transporting the banana bunches to the parking station (Sole 2005).

Upon harvest of the fruit, senescence of harvested produce, catalyzed by an increase in ethylene production, sets in. This process, if not properly controlled, is accompanied by fungal infections and rot affecting hands and crowns that have been severed from the fruit bunch. Postharvest treatment includes washing in water with 100 mg/L chlorine or 10 g/L potassium aluminium sulfate to remove latex and destroy microorganisms, selection, and grading of severed hands. Some of the diseases affecting fruit after harvest include: crown rot, anthracnose, pitting, chilling injury, stalk and fruit rot, stem end rot, and cigar end rot, with the majority of these diseases exacerbated by high favorable conditions and infection levels (Thompson and Burden 1995; Mohammed and Brecht 2002). Other postharvest treatments such as fungicide dip for banana, packaging in boxes with ventilation holes, vacuum-packaging, polyethylene film-packing, and transportation in refrigerated containers under controlled atmosphere of 13 to 14 °C, which is the physiological temperature threshold below which cessation occurs in changes and growth of fruit (Lassoudiere 2007). This, in turn, delays ripening thereby ensuring quality and elongation of shelf life of fruits (Thompson and Burden 1995; Robinson 1996; Nakasone and Paull 1998).

Fruit ripening represents highly coordinated developmental and biochemical pathway activities leading to changes in nutritional quality, color, aroma, and texture of mature fruits. Ripening in fruits primarily governs the interlinked features of postharvest physiology, storage life, and losses (Paul and Pandey 2011). Climacteric fruits such as banana and tomatoes are fruits that show an increase in the rate of respiration as they ripen. Increase in respiration rate during ripening occurs simultaneously or after an increase in ethylene production (Lelievre and others 1997). The gaseous plant hormone ethylene plays a key function in the ripening of many fruits and its role as a ripening hormone in climacteric fruits has been firmly established (Barry and Giovannoni 2007). This plant hormone plays a vital role in fruit ripening, with ripening in climacteric fruits and expression of ripening-related genes associated with a sharp increase in ethylene secretion (Golding and others 1998; Alexander and Grierson 2002; Hoeberichts and others 2002). The onset of ripening in banana begins with the release of endogenous ethylene as the fruit reaches full maturity or by treatment with exogenous ethylene obtained commercially (Wills and others 2001). This process is initiated when ethylene binds to its receptors and triggers a signal transduction process that brings about fruit-ripening (Fluhr and Mattoo 1996). The ripening-related metabolic process then accelerates the production of new ethylene-binding sites and ethylene release through autocatalysis reactions (Dominguez and Vendrell 1994).

Starch reserves in fruit are an important factor in contributing to sugar contents in some ripe fruits (Souleyre and others 2004). Upon ripening, there is a decrease in starch content present in unripe fruits from 20% to 23% to 1% to 2% in fully ripe fruits, with a concomitant increase in soluble sugars from less than 1% to 20% (Agarvante and others 1990). Thus, a decline in starch content is accompanied by an increase in soluble sugar content in the fruits. An increase in activity of the enzyme amylase has been implicated in the degradation of starch to sugars and subsequent fruit-ripening in banana and other starch-containing fruits (Sanwal and Payasi 2007). In South Africa, the cultivation of commercial banana varieties is well coordinated in the processes of maturity indices, harvesting, and postharvest treatment to meet export and local standards. These processes are lacking in noncommercial varieties grown in the suburban areas and other parts of the world, some of which could possibly have better functional and nutritional ingredients than the commercial varieties.

Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

At the onset of ripening, stored starch in banana is converted to simpler sugars such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose and also to maltose and rhamnose in minute quantities (Aurore and others 2009). There is an increase in total soluble solids of banana as ripening progresses (Bugaud and others 2006). Pulp of ripe banana contains about 20 g/100 g fresh weight (f.w.) of carbohydrate, 2 g/100 g f.w. of fiber, and 4.10 to 5.55 mg/100 g (dry weight) of potassium (Goswami and Borthakur 1996). Minerals such as phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), potassium (K), iron (Fe), sodium (Na), and manganese (Mn) have been isolated from ripe banana with K being the most abundant (Goswami and Borthakur 1996; Mohamed and others 2010).

Banana pulp and peel contains cathecholamines and dopamine, while its peel has been found to contain flavonoids. Dopamine has been shown to decrease with an increase in ripening and then remains at 2.5 to 10 mg/100 g for pulp and 80 to 560 mg/100 g for peel (Kanazawa and Sakakibara 2000). As ripening progresses, the levels of salsolinol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine increase. The mobilization of dopamine oxidation has been implicated in the presence of salsolinol, with dopamine functioning as a neurotransmitter and precursor for norepinephrine and epinephrine (Sojo and others 2000; Aurore and others 2009). Epidemiological studies have shown that flavonoid-rich diets reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases (Hertog and others 1993; Salvatore and others 2005). Banana has also been shown to be rich in vitamins A, B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and B6), and C, and in Mg, P, and K, when fully mature (Kanazawa and Sakakibara 2000; Aurore and others 2009).

Banana Essential Elements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Bananas are considered a good source of minerals in the diet with an abundance of data from the literatures supporting these claims (Wall 2006). Essential minerals present in bananas, and in high amounts, are magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), phosphorus (P), and calcium (Ca). In an experiment conducted to determine the mineral contents of tropical fruits and unconventional foods in the rain forest of Colombia, Leterme and others (2006) determined the mineral content present in banana as Mg 27 mg/100 g, K 400 mg/100 g, and P 3 mg/100 g. In a related study, Fox and others (2006) showed that banana also served as a major source of Mg with an average of 4.8%, K 5.2%, and P 1.1% in the diets of infants and toddlers between the ages of 4 to 24 mo. Potassium, a key element in banana is known to enhance the shipping quality and storage-ability of a range of crops, including banana, tomato, potato, and onion, and to extend their shelf life (Mia and others 2010; Bernstein and others 2011). K also increases protein, starch, and soluble solid contents in plants, and improves color and taste, as well as factors of significant application for yield quality.

Banana Starch

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

A principal source of carbohydrate in fruits is starch (Ratnayake and Jackson 2008). Nutritionally, carbohydrates can be classified as either digestible or indigestible and as glycemic or nonglycemic. Banana has been described as an alternate source of indigestible carbohydrates because of its DFs and RS (Rodriguez-Ambriz and others 2008). Starch is the primary component of unripe banana and it undergoes several changes during ripening (Zhang and others 2005). Starch, when susceptible to the action of amylase, is called digestible starch and when amylase-resistant it is referred to as RS (Langkild and others 2002; Fasolin and others 2007). According to the work of Englyst and others (1992), starch can be classified as: rapidly digestible starch (RDS), slowly digestible starch (SDS), and RS. RS is fermented by bacteria in the human colon to short-chain fatty acids and is not digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract. The short-chain fatty acids serve as a source of additional energy to the body and supply high amounts of butyrate that is beneficial to the functioning of the colon (Topping and Clifton 2001).

Flour from unripe banana contains about 73.4% total starch content, with RS content of 17.5% and DF content of 14.5%. The starch content decreases from about 70% to less than 1% after ripening, while there is a corresponding increase in sugar, mainly sucrose, due to enzymatic activities, to above 10%. Unripe mature fruits used in starch production should therefore be processed immediately after harvest. Banana starch is a source of RS, with banana flour having an RS content of 17.5% (Ovando-Martinez and others 2009).

RDS and SDS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

RDS is starch with a digestion rate of 20 min (Englyst and others 1992). It is starch that is quickly broken down and absorbed in the duodenum and proximal regions in the small intestine. This leads to a rise in blood glucose level with the resultant effect of hyperglycemia (Agama-Acevedo and others 2012). SDS is starch with a digestion rate of 20 to 120 min (Englyst and others 1992). SDS is digested slowly, being an intermediate fraction between RDS and RS. It slowly undergoes digestion in the small intestine thereby providing continuous release of glucose with little initial glucemia, thus bringing about a gradual and prolonged glucose release. This has the effects of improving blood glucose control in patients suffering from diabetes (Hodge and others 2004) and serving as a longer and more reliable source of systemic glucose with low glycemic response for sports athletes (Englyst and others 1992). Efforts are currently being made to increase SDS contents in foods due to its health benefits and to minimize the use of digestible carbohydrates in food products (WHO/FAO 2003; Agama-Acevedo and others 2012).

RS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana is said to be an alternative source of indigestible carbohydrates, mostly RS and DFs (Fuentes-Zaragoza and others 2010). Various authors have given different definitions of RS. EURESTA (1993) defined it as the sum of starch and starch degradation products not absorbed in the small intestine of healthy individuals. It was defined by Englyst and others (1992) as starch that is not hydrolyzed after incubating for 120 min with pancreatin and amyloglucosidase. It was also defined as the sum of starch and starch-degradation products that, on average, reach the human large intestine (Englyst and others 1996). Nugent (2005) defined it as the portion of starch and starch products that resist digestion as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract, with the author's definition mostly based on their physical and chemical characteristics. During the process of digestion, starch is mostly converted to monosaccharides, digested, and absorbed in the body through the villi of the small intestine. At this stage, some amount of starch escapes digestion in the small intestine and moves to the large intestine where it helps improve the health of the digestive system, thus behaving like DFs. This type of starch is referred to as RS (Lei and others 2012).

RS consists of retrogradated starch, physically inaccessible starch, starch nutrient complexes, chemically modified starch, and enzymatically inhibited indigestible starch (Saura-Calixto and Abia 1991; Goni and others 1996). According to Haralampu (2000), RS is classified as: RS1, physically inaccessible to digestion by entrapment in a nondigestible matrix; RS2, ungelatinized starch; RS3, retrogradated starch; and RS4, chemically modified starch. During processing, the naturally occurring RS is frequently destroyed, thus rendering its native form indigestible (Rodriguez and others 2006). RS can be manufactured through repolymerization, partial acid hydrolysis, and hydrothermal treatments (heating), extrusion cooking, retrogradation, and chemical modification (Charalampopoulos and others 2002; Fuentes-Zaragoza and others 2010). RS is also said to be degraded to short-chain fatty acids in the colon due to the activities of bacterial amylases. Processing methods and conditions also affect the degradation of RS, with individuals having varying digestibility as a result of differences in enzymic response (Sharma and others 2008).

Physical properties of RS such as low water-holding capacity, mouth-feel, texture, and appearance have made it find application in the production of foods such as cakes, bread, pasta, muffins, and battered foods (Sanz and others 2008). RS, when present in the diet, reduces to a large degree bacterial fermentation of nonstarch polysaccharides. This is important because nonstarch polysaccharides increase the bulk of excreta and equally improve fecal water-holding capacity (Cummings and others 1996). The presence of these functional macromolecules has not been investigated in a majority of the known noncommercial banana cultivars.

DFs

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Fibers, when used as supplement, are said to modify the texture, consistency, rheological properties, and sensory characteristics of food products (Collar and others 2009). DFs can be defined as the nondigestible components of plants that make up the plant cell wall and they include: cellulose, hemicelluloses, and the lignins. DF is defined by Codex Alimentarius Commission's Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses as carbohydrate polymers with 10 or more monomeric units that are not hydrolyzed by the endogenous enzymes in the human small intestine (Mermelstein 2009). AACC (2001) defined DF as the edible parts of plants that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with total or partial fermentation in the large intestine, including food substances such as polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin, and associated plant substances. The Inst. of Medicine's Panel on the Definition of Fiber rendered DF as nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants (Fuentes-Zaragoza and others 2010), while it was defined by CEC (2008) as carbohydrate polymers with 3 or more monomeric units that are neither broken down nor absorbed in the small intestine.

DF is made up of intrinsic plant cell-wall polysaccharides that are not degraded by endogenous enzymes in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Fermentation in the large bowel leads to the exertion of important control by the cell-wall polysaccharide on colonic functions such as bowel habit, transit time, metabolism, balance of the commensal flora, and large bowel epithelial health (Cummings and Stephen 2007). DF influences gut structure, nutrient absorption, sterol metabolism, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and stool characteristics and barrier function.

Goni and others (2009) showed evidence of polyphenols linked with polysaccharides and protein in cell walls as a vital constituent of DF. They stated that polyphenol presence has tremendous effects on the physicochemical properties of DF and to a great extent determines physiological properties in humans. DF has increasingly been associated as a food ingredient (Table 3) with great health benefits (Redgwell and Fischer 2005; Collar 2008). It includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, and other plant substances (Ruiz-Rodriguez and others 2008) and can be divided into soluble DF (SDF) and insoluble DF (IDF).

Table 3. Functional ingredients present in banana
IngredientsFunctionalityReferences
RS (Musa acuminata cv. Cavendish, M. paradisiaca L., M. balbisiana)Reduces bacterial fermentation of nonstarch polysaccharides. Improves the water holding capacity and bulk of excreta.Lehmann and others 2002; Juarez-Garcia and others 2006; Rodriguez-Ambriz and others 2008; Aurore and others 2009; Fuentes-Zaragoza and others 2010
DFs (Musa AAA Cavendish)Influences gut structure, nutrient absorption, sterol, and fat metabolismGreen 2001; Rodriguez-Ambriz and others 2008; do Espirito Santo and others 2012
Fructooligosaccharides (M. acuminata Colla, Musa AAA Cavendish, Musa AA Ouro colatina, Musa AAA Nanicao, Musa AAB Prata comum; Maca; Mysore; Pacovan; Terra, Musa ABB Figo)Improves gut absorption of calcium and magnesium. Prevents urogenital infections and reduces risk of colon cancer.Sangeetha and others 2005; Douglas and Sanders 2008; Singh and others 2011; Sun and others 2011; do Espirito Santo and others 2012
Inulin (M. acuminata)Serves as prebiotics in the small intestineDavis and Milner 2009; Quigley 2010
Phenolic compounds (M. acuminata cv. Anamur, Musa AAA Flhorban 920; Grand Nain, Musa AAB Mysore; Terra; Pacovan, Musa AAA Nanicao, Musa ABB Figo, Pequena Enana, Gran Enana)High antioxidant properties and activitiesVerde Mendez and others 2003; Unal 2007; Bennet and others 2010; Bernal and others 2011

SDF helps to decrease cholesterol levels and has also been implicated in the absorption of intestinal glucose (Rodríguez and others 2006; Rosell and others 2009). According to Dikeman and Fahey (2006), the lowering of cholesterol and absorption of intestinal glucose, as well as postprandial plasma glucose concentrations caused by SDF, have been attributed to their viscosity. IDF, on the other hand, has been implicated in intestinal regulation and is said to have little or no effect in the metabolism of carbohydrates (Rodríguez and others 2006; Ruiz-Rodriguez and others 2008; Rosell and others 2009).

Nondigestible oligosaccharides (NDOs)

Oligosaccharides are low-molecular-weight carbohydrates that contain sugar moieties with a degree of polymerization between 3 and 10, intermediate in nature among simple sugars and polysaccharides (Weijers and others 2008). In NDOs, the anomeric C-atoms of the monosaccharide units have a configuration that enables their osidic bonds to be nonsusceptible to the hydrolytic activity of human-digestive enzymes (Roberfroid and Slavin 2000). Also referred to as functional fiber, NDOs are made up of nondigestible carbohydrates that impart advantageous physiological effects. They are mostly found in fruits and vegetables from where they can be isolated. Fructooligosaccharides and inulin present in banana belong to this group of oligosaccharides (Douglas and Sanders 2008).

Fructooligosaccharides (FOSs)

FOSs are glucose- or fructose-terminated polymers of fructose that are naturally occurring in a variety of plants (Table 4) and can be added as functional ingredients to normal food products (Roberfroid 2002; Douglas and Sanders 2008). FOSs improve gut absorption of Ca and Mg, avert urogenital infections, and lessen risk of colon cancer (Sanchez and others 2008; Okada and others 2010). They are used as ingredients for functional foods (Roberfroid 2002) and serve as nutrients for probiotic Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli (Patel and Goyal 2011; do Espirito Santo and others 2012).

Table 4. Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) concentration in foods
SourceFOS (%)
  1. Source: Sangeetha and others 2005.

Barley0.15
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)0.15
Onions (Allium cepa)0.23
Banana (Musa acuminata Colla)0.30
Brown sugar0.30
Rye0.50
Garlic (Allium sativum)0.60
Honey0.75

Inulin

Inulin is a food ingredient that occurs naturally in significant amounts in bananas, onions, oats, wheat, garlic, and soybeans (Davis and Milner 2009; Quigley 2010). According to Kolida and others (2002), the prebiotic property of inulin has made it a functional food additive. Inulin has also been reported to be a carbohydrate-derived fat replacer having gelling capacity with water and few calories (Srisuvor and others 2013). Helland and others (2004) reported that inulin is also able to give a characteristic fat-like mouth-feel and texture when used as a fat replacer. Though when applied as a prebiotic food ingredient, its availability in the food product becomes highly depreciated (Manning and Gibson 2004). In the utilization of inulin, functional approaches are sometimes utilized to include this food constituent in frequently consumed processed foods like yogurt, biscuit, bread, and infant foods at concentrations that will yield a prebiotic effect (Kolinda and Gibson 2007; do Espirito Santo and others 2012). This functionality is of great health benefit to consumers and its areas of benefits include the promotion of intestinal bacteria growth and stimulation of the immune system (Gibson 2004). Evidence has also shown that the inulin-type fructans are fermented by the bacteria that help in the colonization of the large bowel (Gibson and Roberfroid 1995).

Polyphenols

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Polyphenols are the most abundant bioactive compounds and are known for their health benefits. Over 500 polyphenols have been identified in foods and beverages (Neveu and others 2010; Faller and Fialho 2010). Polyphenols are secondary metabolites of extremely diverse chemical structures, also present in large amounts in bananas, with a majority of the antioxidant located in the fruit peel, and then the pulp (Manach and others 2004; Shahidi and Naczk 2004; Faller and Fialho 2010). The scavenging activities of polyphenols have been reported to be mainly due to their oxidation and reduction properties, thus enabling them to act as singlet oxygen collectors and hydrogen donors (Babbar and others 2011). Polyphenols play a major role in a plant's innate defense mechanism. Their contents in plants differ significantly as a result of variations in cultivar, growing conditions, maturity state, processing, and storage conditions (Jaffery and others 2003; Faller and Fialho 2010). The pulp of raw banana contains catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, gallic acid, and prodelphinidin dimer (Arts and others 2000; Pascual-Teresa de and others 2000; Del Verde-Mendez and others 2003; Harnly and others 2006), with most of these compounds belonging to the class flavanols (Figure 2), while its peel, according to Gonzalez-Montelongo and others (2010), contains a large amount of dopamine and catecholamines (Table 5). Polyphenols, over the past decade, have been receiving increasing and considerable interest from food scientists, nutritionists, and consumers due to their high antioxidant role and health-beneficial properties (Neveu and others 2010). These secondary plant metabolites have been implicated in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and type 2 diabetes (Arts and Hollman 2005; Scalbert and others 2005).

Table 5. Polyphenol content in banana
Banana cultivarAnalytical methodSubclassClassCompoundsAmount mg/100 g f.w.References
  1. NA: Not available.

Musa acuminata Colla, Musa AAB Mysore; Terra; Pacovan, Musa AAA Nanicao, Musa ABB Figo, Pequena Enana, Gran EnanaChromatographyFlavonoidsFlavanolsCatechin1.34Arts and others 2000; Pascual-Teresa de and others 2000; Del Verde-Mendez and others 2003; Harnly and others 2006; Bennet and others 2010
Musa acuminata Colla, Musa AAB Mysore; Terra; Pacovan, Musa AAA Nanicao, Musa ABB Figo   Epicatechin0.11Arts and others 2000; Pascual-Teresa de and others 2000; Harnly and others 2006; Bennet and others 2010
Musa acuminata Colla   Epigallocatechin2.14Arts and others 2000; Pascual-Teresa de and others 2000; Harnly and others 2006
Musa acuminata Colla   Prodelphinidin dimer B30.10Pascual-Teresa de and others 2000
Musa acuminata Colla, Pequena Enana, Gran Enana Phenolic acidsHydrobenzoic acidGallic acid1.00Del Verde-Mendez and others 2003
Musa acuminata Colla, Musa AAA Flhorban 920; Grand Nain, Musa AAB Mysore; Terra; Pacovan, Musa AAA Nanicao, Musa ABB FigoFolin assay determination methodTotal polyphenolTotal polyphenolNA154.70Vinson and others 2001; Sun and others 2002; Luximon-Ramma and others 2003; Wu and others 2004; Chun and others 2005; Bennet and others 2010
Musa acuminata CollaNormal phase HPLCFlavonoidsFlavanols02 mers0.70Gu and others 2004
    03 mers0.80Gu and others 2004
    04 to 06 mers2.30Gu and others 2004
image

Figure 2. Structure of flavan-3-ols. Source: Nutrient Data Laboratory 2011. http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata/flav. Accessed 2013 Feb 19.

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Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

A major constraint that is related with postharvest handling and preservation of harvested banana is its short shelf life of 6 to 10 d under tropical conditions. Banana at its unripe stage is easy to transport and has a longer shelf life (Meneze and others 2011; Li and others 2011). Bananas are highly perishable, with a significant portion of the harvested crop being lost from the farm to the consumers owing to poor handling, storage, and transportation of the fruit (Robinson 1996; Nakasone and Paull 1998; Tock and others 2010). Furthermore, with most of the cultivated bananas exported or consumed, the fruit is rarely processed, converted into food products, or processed for industrial use. Globally, large quantities of bananas are being lost with about one-fifth of all harvested bananas being wasted as a result of little or no processing and poor postharvest handling (Rodriguez-Ambriz and others 2008; Tribess and others 2009). A recent study showed 50% postharvest loss in banana fruit sold at a fruit market in Limpopo province of South Africa (Mashau and others 2012).

Storage quality and the activities of sucrose-metabolizing enzymes of fruits stored under ambient conditions are mostly associated to stage of fruit maturity during harvest. Results of studies conducted by Li and others (2011) on the effects of harvest maturity on storage quality and sucrose-metabolizing enzymes during banana ripening showed that banana fruit harvested at 60% stage of maturity had a longer storage life than fruit harvested at 80% stage of maturity. Thus, it could be said that fruits harvested at a lower stage of maturity have a longer keeping life than fruit harvested when fully matured or at a higher stage of maturity. Harvesting of bananas a little earlier before full maturity occurs will greatly reduce the incidence of spoilage due to over-ripening (Mashau and others 2012).

Though South Africa has not been able to meet its domestic banana needs, harvested fruits are exported to African countries, Europe, and Latin America with few of the bananas sold and consumed within the country (DAFF 2011). Most fruits cultivated are either processed when ripe to products such as purees, ice creams, and infant meals (Figure 3); others are sold to retail stores, small grocery shops, road side vendors, and hawkers. Most farms, especially in rural areas, supply their produce to retail shops and road side vendors in order to reduce a postharvest loss that sets in immediately when fruit starts ripening (Mashau and others 2012). Farmers in the rural areas cannot afford the expensive storage facilities found mostly in larger farms located near the cities; thus, there is a need to reduce losses incurred as a result of spoilage and to make some profit.

image

Figure 3. Flow chart of various banana-derived products. Source: Mohapatra and others 2011.

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Value Addition and Reduction in Waste

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana undergoes less industrial processing compared to fruits such as potato, apple, orange, and tomato (Aurore and others 2009). This is primarily due to the fact that investigation on its use, especially at its unripe stage and suitability for various types of processing, is still lacking. Suitability for use and innovation will only be possible on the foundation of enhanced knowledge of cultivars, characterization of their nutrients, climatic conditions for growth, and effects of postharvest treatment, as well as application of value addition. Most of the local cultivars in Africa lack this information. The dessert banana can serve as raw material for industrial processing and its potentials includes the production of fruit juice, purees, starch, fermented and fruit drinks, marmalade, jam, ice creams, pastry ingredients, confectioneries, and sorbets (Table 6, Figure 4).

Table 6. Use of banana as value-added products
Value-added productsReferences
Yogurt, ice creamAurore and others 2009; DAFF 2011
Noodles, pastaOsorio-Diaz and others 2008; Zandonadi and others 2012
Muffins, confectioneriesJuarez-Garcia and others 2006; DAFF 2011
Beer, wineLemaire and others 1997; Carreno and Aristizabal 2003; Byaruagaba-Bazirake and others 2012; Ndabamenye and others 2013
Crisps, chipsLemaire and others 1997; Akubor and others 2003; Carreno and Aristizabal 2003; Mohapatra and others 2011
Infant foodsNakasone and Paull 1998; Aurore and others 2009
JamMurphy 2001; Sangeetha and others 2005; Mohapatra and others 2011
Fruit barMohapatra and others 2011

Functional Foods

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Functional foods, a boundary between foods and drugs (Schieber and others 2001; Kaur and Das 2011), are traditional or processed foods that contain or add a valuable food component with beneficial health effect. They were first introduced in Japan in the 1980s, which is the only country with a specific regulatory approval process for functional foods (Kaur and Das 2011). Foods for Specific Health Use, a term coined for functional foods in Japan (Berry 2002; Bailey 2009), have been found to contain ingredients such as DFs and oligosaccharides with their corresponding health benefits (Arshad 2003). RS, believed to be present in bananas, has wide application as a functional ingredient, particularly in foods with significant DF levels (Mikulikova and others 2008; Fuentes-Zaragoza and others 2010). This therefore makes banana a readily available raw material in the processing and development of functional foods due to the high RS content.

Banana starch has been shown to be as functional as maize starch with a high acceptability potential due to its lack of flavor and has been evaluated for its ability in generating health-beneficial RS3 (Lehmann and others 2002; Aurore and others 2009). Food products such as yogurts and breads fortified with prebiotics and probiotics that provide health benefits are classified as functional foods (Menrad 2003; Kotilainen and others 2006; Kaur and Das 2011).

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are nondigestible food nutrients like starches, DFs, sugar alcohols, and oligosaccharides that affect the host beneficially by stimulating selectively the growth and activity of gastrointestinal bacteria present in the colon of the host, thus providing health benefits to the host (Gibson and Roberfroid 1995; Charalampopoulos and others 2003; Lim and others 2005; Stanton and others 2005; Quigley 2010; Singh and others 2011). They are ingredients that act in the digestive tract by producing a hostile environment for the pathogens that may attack the immune system (Singh and others 2011). Modified prebiotics of the colon increase the dominance of colonic microorganisms such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (Gibson and Roberfroid 1995). Dietary carbohydrates that escape digestion in the small intestine can undergo bacterial fermentation in the colon and this process has an enormous influence on the functioning of gut metabolic activity (Singh and others 2011). Food ingredients from which prebiotics can be derived include inulin, galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, and RS (Singh and others 2011). The prebiotic role of RS has been attributed to its favorable influence on the microbial flora of the large intestine (Thompson 2007).

Probiotics

Derived from a Greek word meaning “for life,” probiotics can be defined as live organisms that exert a health benefit to the host when ingested in sufficient amounts (Douglas and Sanders 2008; Quigley 2010; Patel and Goyal 2011). They are live microbes that can be formulated into different types of products including foods, drugs, and dietary supplements (Guarner and others 2009). Lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Bifidobacteria, and nonpathogenic yeasts are examples of such microorganisms (Kaur and Das 2011; Quigley 2010). Several strains of these microorganisms are utilized in the production of foods thereby making them probiotic in nature. Due to the chemical composition of prebiotics, they are unable to be absorbed in the small intestine, though they are fermented in the colon by endogenous bacteria to produce energy and other metabolic substrates with lactic and short-chain carboxylic acids as end products of the fermentation (Quigley 2010). RS in fruits upon ingestion helps to extend the viability of some probiotic organisms present in the colon (Bello-Perez and Paredes-Lopez 2009). Consumption of RS and probiotics together brings about a symbiosis in which RS protects some of the ingested organisms as they move to the colon, thus efficiently raising the initial amount of the desirable species as they reach the colon. This symbiotic role also extends to RS acting as a substrate for a section of the probiotic organism (Topping and others 2003; Bello-Perez and Paredes-Lopez 2009). Probiotics can provide relief for individuals suffering from lactose intolerance, excessive serum cholesterol, diarrhea, and digestive effects of antibiotics (Conway 1996; Fuller 1996; Richardson 1996; Scheinbach 1998).

The synergy between probiotics and prebiotics (Douglas and Sanders 2008) with its products exerting both a prebiotic and probiotic effect is termed synbiotics (Guarner and others 2009). Synbiotics is also used to describe the amalgamation of a probiotic and a prebiotic to enhance their activity, viability, and to stimulate indigenous Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (Gibson and Roberfroid 1995; Quigley 2010).

Nutraceuticals

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

The term nutraceutical was first mentioned over 20 y ago as the combination of nutrition and pharmaceutics both of which contribute to health and wellness (Haller 2010). It is defined as dietary supplements that deliver a concentrated form of a presumed bioactive food agent that is presented in a nonfood matrix and used with the sole aim of promoting health in dosages that exceed those obtained from normal foods (Zeisel 1999). It also refers to any food or part of a food ingredient that provides medical or health benefits in the treatment and prevention of disease. Supplements are generally not endorsed by medical practitioners, but they are aggressively marketed to be used in various forms such as pills, capsules, portions, and liquids (Shahidi 2009). Other forms in which nutraceuticals exist include isolated nutrients, dietary or food supplements (vitamins, minerals, coenzyme Q, and camitine), herbal products, genetically engineered “designer” foods, and various processed foods (Dureja and others 2003; Mondello 2013). Food ingredients from which nutraceuticals can be derived include lipids, proteins, vitamins, glycosides, and phenolic compounds some of which are present in banana (Bernal and others 2011). Nutraceuticals can also be obtained from a matrix of products derived from the food and pharmaceutical industry, herbal and dietary supplement market, and the pharmaceutical/agribusiness/nutrition conglomerates. These food ingredients and products are considered safe with lots of health claims emanating from their use by consumers, although not all the health claims have been justified. According to Das and others (2012), nutraceuticals can broadly be classified into potential and established nutraceuticals, with the potential nutraceuticals, referred to as established nutraceutical only after clinical analysis and data of its health and medical claims have been ascertained. Presently, the majority of nutraceutical products available to the consumer are still under the potential nutraceutical category.

The boundary between nutraceuticals and functional foods is not always obvious, with their main difference being the mode of consumption; nutraceuticals are consumed as pills, capsules, or tablets, while functional foods are consumed as ordinary foods (Bernal and others 2011). Banana in its unripe form can serve as an alternate source of indigestible carbohydrates due to its high RS content (Juarez-Garcia and others 2006). RS has been used as a functional ingredient in foods for the improvement of nutrition. It has also been found to have an attractive nutraceutical characteristic in that it is resistant to digestion (Faisant and others 1995a,b), hence the consumption of unripe banana by diabetic patients in parts of Africa.

Health Benefits of Banana

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

The health benefits of banana have received significant research and investigation. Banana fruit has been found to protect against colon cancer, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, and enhance ease of digestion (Aurora and Sharma 1990; Rabbani and others 2004). It also helps influence the proper functioning of the digestive tract, microbial flora, blood cholesterol level, and the glycemic index. DF, a functional ingredient present in banana, has been associated with improving bowel function. Low intake of fiber may lead to problems such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, diverticulitis, and even colon cancer (Green 2001). Sufficient DF intake has been implicated in the reduction of high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar (Sanders 1998; Charalampopoulos and others 2002).

Contribution of Banana to Food Security

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

A current trend in food consumption by consumers is the rising demand for food products with high nutritional contents, in addition to health benefits derived from ingestion of these food products. This has become increasingly important in today's world due to the rapidly changing and stressful lifestyles of consumers (Brouns and others 2002). Accordingly, food processors have responded with the production of functional foods, health foods, and nutraceuticals that are not medicines by themselves but have beneficial health effects and characteristics (Aurore and others 2009). The high amount of nutrients, functional and health-related nutrients, present in local and commercial bananas has made this possible. These nutrients could be made available when the fruit is edible, raw, cooked, or processed into snacks, jams, confectionaries, health foods, or nutraceuticals. Banana, if fully utilized in its ripe and unripe forms, holds a high potential in addressing global and local food security challenges. But little has been done in taking advantage of this huge potential, especially in semiurban and rural areas of the world were banana is cultivated at both commercial and subsistence level.

Areas of Further Investigation

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

The functional food market is growing, with the global market projected to attain a value of at least 90.5 billion US dollars by 2013 (Kaur and Das 2011). With increases in technology, there has been a corresponding increase in product innovations, food safety, food hygiene, and increased shelf life for food products; hence, the need for exploitation of both local and commercial banana cultivars. Local banana varieties are termed “local” more often due to their low flavor content when compared to commercial varieties. While this holds true for most local varieties, further research must be done on their nutritional profile as research has shown that banana contains other health-beneficial nutrients apart from its flavor. There is also the need for more research on the health benefits in terms of the prebiotic and probiotic roles of banana nutrients. This has become important due to the fact that claims of its health benefits are based mostly on the availability of these functional and health nutrients in banana. Thus, research work need be done by extracting these nutrients, determining the amount of these nutrients necessary for product development as well as processing them into functional and health-beneficial foods. Some provinces in South Africa possess the climatic conditions of both a tropical and subtropical region making it suitable for the cultivation of bananas. Investigations must be conducted also on the suitability thereof of these provinces and other regions of the world with similar climatic characteristics, for the growth of plantain cultivated mostly in West Africa.

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References

Banana is a fruit with abundant minerals and health and functional nutrients with characteristic properties, yet has been highly underutilized. The present challenge therefore is how the functional properties of banana can be extracted, improved upon, or preserved with little or no effect on the nutritional characteristic of the fruit. What processed raw materials, apart from the already existing products, can be developed from the fruit, and what finished products can be processed from various commercial and noncommercial cultivars? Further research is needed, while taking into consideration also the variation of cultivars available worldwide, as well as their modes of consumption. Successful industrial utilization and processing of bananas will be of immense health benefit to consumers, ensure food security, reduce unemployment, and serve as a source of revenue generation (Zhang and others 2005).

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Banana Cultivation
  5. Maturity Indices, Harvesting, and Postharvest Treatment
  6. Functional and “Health” Properties of Banana
  7. Banana Essential Elements
  8. Banana Starch
  9. RDS and SDS
  10. RS
  11. DFs
  12. Polyphenols
  13. Postharvest Utilization of Banana Fruits
  14. Value Addition and Reduction in Waste
  15. Functional Foods
  16. Nutraceuticals
  17. Health Benefits of Banana
  18. Contribution of Banana to Food Security
  19. Areas of Further Investigation
  20. Conclusion
  21. Acknowledgments
  22. References
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