Friday, July 7, 2017

Yes, but how does it TASTE?

Here's the news about agricultural scientists, or food technologists, or banana hackers, from Australia that have developed a new variety that could have a major impact on malnutrition.

Scientists develop the world's first GOLDEN bananas which have orange-coloured flesh and could save thousands of lives

Now, the color isn't really what's important.  It's the vitamins that are now in the bananas.

The bananas are enriched in Vitamin A, and since bananas low in Vitamin A are a major part of the diet in Uganda, many people in Uganda have Vitamin A deficiency.  This is also true of populations in neighboring countries.  According to the article, the bananas are the East African cooking banana, not the Cavendish banana that's in U.S. grocery stores.  So as these bananas become more widely available, the problems of Vitamin A deficiency should decline.  (Thank you, Bill and Melinda Gates, for funding this.)

OK, that's great.  What I was wondering is, while they're at it, could they figure out how to get the Gros Michel banana taste genes into a different banana?  The Gros Michel nearly disappeared because of a blight, and the Cavendish is in danger of a similar fate (as I've written about before). And by all accounts, the Gros Michel tasted quite a bit better than the Cavendish.  Since there are still some Gros Michel bananas around in isolated spots, couldn't the food bio-engineers come up with a banana that is both more nutritious and tastes great?  (Sounds like a protein-rich light beer, but seriously, how hard could this be?  Don't answer that.)

Actually, there's a chance the Gros Michel could come back, as agriculturalists have been working on disease-resistant hybrid.  Guess we have to wait and see if that works.

No comments: