Bananas and Plantains

Bananas and Plantains
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
M. acuminata
M. balbisiana
Genus Musa
Section Eumusa
Major species of economic importance
Musa acuminata (A genome)
Musa balbisiana (B genome)
Ploidy levels of commercial bananas
Diploid, AA and BB
Triploid, AAA, AAB, ABB
Tetraploid, AAAA, AABB, ABBB
Major evolutionary events
Probably millennia ago
Types of Bananas
Desert banana, fresh consumption
Cooking, Meal, Vegetable banana
Plátano, banano macho
Banana Origin and Domestication
Adaptation: Hot Humid Tropics
Frost free
Mean temperature of 27 C (80 F)
Minimum winter temp of 15.5 C (60 F)
Rain, 100 mm (4.0”) per month
Good drainage is needed
Slightly acid, pH 5.5 to 6.5
Banana Cultivation and Climate
Most Banana/Plantain Production within Region with
Winter Temperate Greater than 15.5 C (60 F) and
Rainfall greater than 1,270 mm (50”)
Banana Cultivation and Climate
Bananas Grown for Local Consumption
Banana Cultivation and Climate
Bananas Grown for Export = T
Weather Problems
15-20 mph – leaf damage, twisting, breakage
40 mph – considerable damage
60 mph – complete destruction
Pseudostem not as strong as woody stem
Large leaves that catch wind
Shallow root system
World Production
(1,000s mt)
World Production
World Production
Leading Producing Countries
World Production
FAOSTAT database, 2000-2002
Bananas, 72 million MT (56% Asia)
Plantains, 25 million MT (89% Africa)
Staple food for 70 million Africans
90% grown on small farms and consumed locally
10% exported from plantations
Latin America and Caribbean region
World Yields (mt/ha)
Plant Structure
Perennial herb
All leaves/inflorescence origin from under ground corm
Spreads via rhizomes
Plants “walk”
Largest plant without woody trunk
Pseudostem, leaf bases
Fruits once
Banana Varieties
Gros Michel (Big Mike)
Leading cv for 100 years
Good production, cycle 13-15 months
Tall plants (4-8 m), wind damage
Good post harvest qualities
Ripened uniformly
Resistant to bruising and discoloration
Shipped as bunches
Susceptible to Panama disease
Replaced by Cavendish – resistant to Panama disease
Banana Varieties
Currently the leading cv for export
Heavy production, cycle 11 months
Smaller plant (2-3 m) – less wind damage
Marginal post harvest qualities
Does not ripen uniformly – use special chambers
Susceptible to bruising and discoloration
Shipped packed in boxes
Resistant to Panama disease
Many Locally Important Varieties
Active breeding in Africa, South America, and Asia
Flower Structure
Three types of flowers on inflorescence
Female flowers – develop into fruit
Hermaphroditic flowers
Male flowers
Fruit is a berry
Banana flower
Banana flower
Botanically the Banana is a Berry
One pistil
One or many seed
Production Cycle
Rhizomes that are 6-8” diameter
Planted within hours of digging
Special fields for production of rhizomes for new orchards
Nematode problems
Hot water treatment (65°C)
Chemical dips
2.9 m (8.5’) square
1,812 pl/ha (725 pl/ac)
Size of export plantation
Need to supply 36,000 mt/year
Yield 40 mt/ha -> 1,000 ha
Supply 1,000 mt/ship every 10 days
Four years to attain commercial production
Banana plants
Take 8-9 months to flower
11-14 leaves
Six leaves needed for good production
Bunch take 3 months to develop
Fruiting cycle for Dwarf Cavendish is 11 months
Banana plants “walk”
Training and Plant Selection
Banana plants “walk”
Select and train sucker for next crop to not interfere with growing bunch
When harvest fruit the sucker should be 2 m (5-6’)
Eliminate suckers that are
Poorly positioned
Too small
Panama Disease
Fusarium oxysporum
Caused the demise of Gros Michel
Plantains are generally resistant
Resistant varieties
New strain of the pathogen in Asia overcomes Cavendish resistance gene
Need to develop a wider range of varieties for the export market
Panama Disease
Black Sigatoka
Banana Leaf Spot
Mycosphaerella – Cercospora
Native to Southeast Asia
Early 1960s – Pacific and Asia
Early 1970s – Latin America
Late 1970s – Gabon in Africa – spread through Africa
Small translucent pale yellow streaks
Necrotic lesions (light gray w/ yellow halo)
Lesions coalesce and destroy leaf
Black Sigatoka
Banana Leaf Spot
Yield Losses – by losing leaf area
This is generally not a problem in mixed
50% yield loss
Also cause premature ripening in harvested fruit
Mixed plantings
Generally not a serious problem
Fungicides (Manzate)
Resistant varieties
Bagging of the Fruit
Weekly inspection
Last true hand is 4” long
Remove terminal end of bunch
Mark with ribbon – colors change with the week
Cover with perforated polyethylene bag
Damage from leaves
Dust and dirt
Advance ripening
Forty tons of bananas per hectare
80 kg N = 80 kg N
20 kg P2O5 = 9 kg P
240 kg K2O = 200 kg K
Supporting the Crop
52% of plant weight is the raceme
Prop with poles
Guide lines to base of adjacent plant
Leaf pruning can reduce problems with wind damage
Crew harvests at 3-4 day intervals
Look for colored ribbons which indicate age of bunch
Minimum size
5 hands
Pick green, with certain size
Banana bunch weighs 90-110 lbs
Two man operation
Hung on hook on cable system
Cable system runs from banana field to the packing house
Fruit Packing and Grading
Separate into hands
Wash to prevent staining
Pack in boxes
Fruit Packing and Grading
Pack in boxes
Only pack unblemished fruit
Post Harvest
Storage temperature
57 – 59 F
Below 56 F may cause chilling injury
Bananas are ripened for marketing
58-64 F
Ethylene treatment
Nutritional Value
100 gm edible pulp
85 calories, mostly carbohydrates
Vitamin, A, C, B1, B2, niacin
Minerals, very high in K
Reduce risk of high blood pressure and strokes
Any Questions?

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