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cellular organisms -
Species important for domestication/cultivation:
Musa acuminata (wild and cultivated bananas)
Musa balbisiana (wild banana)
Musa x paradisiaca (plantains)
Wild non-edible/ornamental banana plants:
Musa banksii (f'ai taemanu)
Musa basjoo (Japanese fiber banana)
Taxonomic placeMusa is a member of the monocot order Zingiberales, a lineage of Commelinids that diverged from the lineage leading to rice (Poales) in the mid-cretaceous period over 100 million years ago.
Genomic makeupMusa acuminata (AA genome) and Musa balbisiana (BB genome), both with 2n = 22 chromosomes, represent the two main progenitors of cultivated banana varieties. Table bananas are sterile (reproductive features of flower are dysfunctional), parthenocarpic (producing fruit without fertilization), fruits are seedless or with ungerminable seeds, and diploids AA or triploid with the AAA genome constitution. They represent only a fraction of world production, although they are an important cash crop. Cooking bananas and plantains, mostly consumed in the countries of production, generally have an AAB or ABB genome constitutions; these are boiled, fried, dried, or sometimes ground into flour.
ImportanceEdible bananas originated in the Indo-Malaysian region reaching northern Australia. The oldest records of edible bananas come from India (600 B.C.) It is believed that bananas were first introduced to Europe in the 10th century A.D. In early 1500s, Portuguese mariners transported the plant from the West African coast to South America. Today, Musa spp. are grown in every humid tropical region and constitute the fourth largest fruit crop of the world, following the grape, citrus fruits, and the apple. Taken together, bananas and plantains is one of most important staple food in developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and much of Asia (with consumption up to 400 kg per person per year) and a major cash crop worldwide. The male bud can be eaten as a vegetable. The leaves are used for cooking and wrapping food, thatching, sheltering of goods and variety of other purposes. Fibers extracted from dried petioles and pseudostems are used in clothing and paper manufacture.
- Seed Only inedible varieties of banana can be propagated by seed.
- Plantlet A sucker that formed at the base of mother plant or a young seedling. Sucker can be either left on the mother corm after the plant was cut down to form a replacement plant or be transplanted. Suckers that are used for propagation usually have stem diameter of 2 to 6 inches and are about 3 months old. The leaves are commonly cut off.
- Vegetative growth The banana is a perennial herb that reaches the tree height and bears fruit within a year. Its growing starts by a false stem, the pseudostem that shoots off from the underground corm and is formed by concentric layers of leaf sheaths. There are no lignification or secondary thickening of stems that is characteristic of trees.
- Flowering At 10 to 15 months after the emergence of a new plant, the shoot apex that is present at the ground level grows up through the center of the pseudostem and emerges as a gigantic terminal inflorescence. which bears fruit. The first female flowers covered by purplish bracts appear in groups ( hands) along the stem. The bracts are shed as the fruit stem develops. Female flower hands (from a few to more than 10) are followed by hands of male flowers. Typically, a bract rolls up and sheds to expose a new hand of flowers almost daily. The fruiting stalk is often covered to keep away insects and fruit-eating birds. In commercially grown banana, the large terminal bud and bracts are removed to redirect sugars to the developing fruits.
- Maturity All banana fruits are formed and are ready for harvest. Generally, a hand consists of 10–20 bananas, and there are 6–15 hands per stalk, which equals 40–50 kilograms per stalk or more than 10 tons per acre and per year. The fruit of a banana is a berry with a leathery outer peel. Banana usually are harvested after they reached a certain size but are still green. They are allowed to ripen while transported or being sold.
pseudostem A banana pseudostem produces fruit only once. After harvest, the stalk is cut off at the base and chopped into small pieces which are left on the ground and incorporated in as mulch. New pseudostems (follow-up stalks) which have been allowed to grow from the rhizome (also called a mat) will produce the next crop. The plant can be "regenerated" and be productive for up to 10 years.
A banana plant with ripening fruit bunch. A sucker is growing from the base of the stem which will form a replacement plant after fruit is harvested and the mother plant cut down.
- Lescot M. Insights into the Musa genome: Syntenic relationships to rice and between Musa species. BMC Genomics 2008, 9:58
- Prescott SC. The Banana: A Food of Exceptional Value. The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Jan., 1918), pp. 65-75
- Parsons JJ. A New Chapter in the History of Tropical Agriculture. Economic Geography, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Jul., 1957), pp. 201-216
- Arvanitoyannis IS, Mavromatis A. Banana Cultivars, Cultivation Practices, and Physicochemical Properties. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2009), 49: 2, 113 — 135
- Howes FN. The Banana in Some Tropical Eastern Countries: Its Forms and Variations. Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Gardens, Kew), Vol. 1928, No. 8 (1928), pp. 305-332
- HESLOP-HARRISON JS and SCHWARZACHER T. Domestication, Genomics and the Future for Banana. Annals of Botany 100: 1073–1084, 2007
- Uses of Musa. 1997 (.pdf)