Federal Center for Nutrition
Ecuador: Healthy banana peels - making use of waste products
Antioxidants and phenols found in the skins of bananas seem to have properties that are anti-carcinogenic and that slow down the ageing process. Furthermore, they seem to have anti-inflammatory properties. This was revealed in a study carried out at the University of San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Researchers there however did not start their analysis of potential beneficial elements in banana peels for its own sake. Originally they were looking for ways to use the waste products of bananas. It was this that led to thinking about alternative uses of bananas.
Some background information: every year around 240,000 tonnes of bananas do not meet the quality requirements for them to be exported or to be sold at local markets. Most often, the reason for this is damage during harvest or transport. These ‘waste bananas’ currently are a serious environmental problem in Ecuador. If it proves to be impossible to put these bananas to some use, it will result in high levels of organic pollution. So what more can be gained from bananas? Researchers looked into this by examining various types of bananas, focusing on the tannin content of their skins. Anyone who has ever successfully treated a case of mild diarrhoea with a mix of mashed banana and grated apple may be aware of the effects of these ingredients, which are also used in commercially available diarrhoea medicines.
But science so far had not really looked at banana skins themselves. Now research has shown that in the initial maturation phase of the banana, tannin and tannic acid levels are at their highest, ever decreasing as the bananas mature. This is a discovery that might be taken into account for possible future economic use. Over the coming years, banana waste products may be found in the market.
Publication date: 11/17/2017
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