Bananas contain important vitamin-precursor compounds which if better understood can save thousands of children from dying and becoming blind besides helping develop banana varieties with enhanced health benefits, researchers said.
Half of those children die within a year of losing their sight, they said.
To combat vitamin A deficiency, researchers have been investigating methods to boost carotenoids in bananas, because these compounds – which turn fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow – are converted into vitamin A in the liver.
However, this approach has been hindered by a lack of understanding of how bananas produce and store carotenoids, so researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia wanted to address this gap.
They studied two banana varieties to find out why they make very different amounts of carotenoids. They found that the pale yellow, low-carotenoid Cavendish variety produces more of an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids. Read More