2 May 2017
Consider the Banana
When you buy bananas at the store, it doesn’t seem like they contain any seeds, or at least not that you have noticed. If you went out into the wild and peeled open a banana that you found, you would find seeds. Some of these seeds can be very big and take up much of the fruit, making the banana almost impossible to eat.
The bananas that you and I purchase from the local grocery store, for the most part are known as the Cavendish variety. These Cavendish bananas have been specifically bred over the years so that they are seedless and cannot form mature seeds. Every single Cavendish banana is genetically exactly the same. They are all identical descendants of one single banana. This is what we call a Genetically Modified Organism, or a GMO.
Bananas are plentiful, vitamin-rich fruits that can fuel us with energy, make us feel full and provide our body with nutrients and high amount of fiber because of their simple, natural sugars. The scientific name for the banana is Masa acuminata. As for health benefits, there are many, even when you want to throw the banana away when it starts to brown. According to fruitsinfo.com, it states that “Upon purchasing, bananas last for a week, but after some time there are black spots that appear on them growing bigger until the bananas turn black. We think they are rotten and throw them away. But the fact is that the spots on the banana increase the value of the fruit. The brown spots represent the tumor necrosis factor. This cancer-fighting substance present in the banana helps to fight against abnormal cells in the body…” (10). This is just one of the many benefits of bananas. Oh yeah, did I mention these are the same bananas that are genetically modified?
As stated in the article Banana Production Methods, André Gonçalves and Jim Kernaghan write “The planting material (the rhizomes) is taken directly from established banana plantations. As bananas are usually spread by vegetative means, farmers remove the suckers of a plant, which can be from either his own crop or else from those of a neighboring plantation” (10). Which means, each new banana plant has to be manually planted from a cutting of existing banana roots, not from seeds or the actual banana.
Up until the 1950s, the most common banana was not the Cavendish variety, but was a breed of banana called the the Gros Michel. According to raw-food-health.com, “the banana (Gros Michel) was the first to be cultivated on a large scale, and started appearing in North American and European cities in the late 1800s” (3). The Gros Michel was wiped out by a fungus known as fusarium oxysporum, which was the main fungus involved in the cause and spread of Panama disease as well.
The fungus attacked the roots of banana plants and was resistant to the fungicide. All Gros Michel were identical clones, or GMOs, just like today, therefore all of the bananas were susceptible, causing the fungus to spread across plantations very quickly. The Cavendish, the banana we consume and can buy today, was chosen as a replacement because it was modified to have a specific resistance against this fungus.
“Banana.” Fruits. N.p., 2016. Web.
Duncan, David Ewing. “Without a genetic fix, the banana may be history.” SFGate. N.p., 05 Apr. 2004. Web.
Gonçalves, André, and Jim Kernaghan. “Banana production methods A comparative study.” (2014): 1-38. Web.
“Gros Michel: The Lost Banana Your Grandfather Loved.” Raw-food-health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
Remy, S., Kovács, G., Swennen, R. and Panis, B. (2013). GENETICALLY MODIFIED BANANAS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. Acta Hortic. 974, 71-80
-Development of several (3) key ideas/issues for consideration surrounding your topic.
– should break down why bananas are a great source of simple sugars fiber and potassium
-explain why bananas had to be genetically modified
– And if you’re worried buy organic bananas
- the reader should understand what you are advocating for us to reconsider.
– ^^ consider that you can advocate for there to be no gmos in bananas all you want, but humans cannot physically consume natural, non modified bananas