Mineral Composition of Ripe and Unripe Plantain and Banana Peels

Selected Mineral Composition of Ripe and Unripe Plantain and Banana Peels


Plantain (Musa paradisiaca) and banana (Musa balbisiana) are a major staple food in the tropics. Their peels are the major by-product of plantain and banana fruits. The assay of the concentrations of Ca, Fe and K in the peels of these plants was studied using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), after the wet digestion was carried out while P was determined using ultra-violet spectrophotometer. Mineral analysis of these peels showed that unripe plantain peel (UPP) had the highest value of Ca (0.23mg/g), K (0.47mg/g), P (0.06mg/g), and Fe (2.61mg/g), than the other varieties of the peel. Also, the results showed that the ripe banana peel had the least value of Ca (0.11), K (0.25), Fe (0.36) and P (0.03) than the other varieties of these peels. This shows that at different developmental and ripening stages of these fruits, there is a difference in their mineral compositions which also has nutritional values and can also be useful in the processing of other food products or conversion to other useful products such as composite manure or livestock feed.



1.1       Background of the Study

Banana and plantain belonging to the Musa spp. are perennial crops that take the appearance or nature of trees as they mature. According to Falana (1997), he reported that the origin of cultivated plantain and banana is from two wild diploid species namely; Musa acuminate and Musa balbisiana. Diverse cultivars of these crops are being grown all over the world. Musa spp are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia but their exact introduction into Africa is not quite known. It could be termed the “first fruit crop” as its cultivation originated during a time when hunting and gathering was still the principal means of acquiring food. Banana and plantain are important staple foods in many developing countries today, especially in Africa. Of the numerous edible varieties, banana accounts for 17 % of the types of Musa spp grown worldwide, and plantain account for another 19%. They provide food and income for small-scale farmers who represent the majority of producers. Only about few of the global banana and plantain production is involved in international trade. In Nigeria most production are consumed domestically. Why only a few is being exported A major problem being experienced by most agro-based industries in developing countries today is the management of wastes from processing, which are mostly subjected to open air burning which has negative environmental  and health implications (Babayemi et al., 2009).

Serious emphasis is being placed on the research into the use of alternative feedstuffs for                                 livestock production because of the ever increasing price of maize and its scarcity in some months of the year. Agro by-products and wastes have been identified as alternative feedstuffs and can form a major source of energy in animal feed to livestock (Fanimo, et al., 1991). Plantain and banana contain essential minerals which are absorbed from the soil through the roots of these plants. There are so many minerals available in these crops but the minerals of interest are, phosphorous (P), Plants growing in such soils enriched with these minerals accumulate them to levels that are beneficial to human health and also livestock when consumed over time.   Accumulation of these minerals in plants has become a global concern, as deficiency or excess of these metals may cause a health challenge to humans and other organisms. Banana peels due to the high content of potassium and phosphorous increases and promotes root development and overall plant health when incorporated into the soil as composite manure. Transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm (Rude et al., 2012.), Thus, information about these minerals in plants being one of the major path ways to humans and livestock, is important for review and evaluation. Also, the mineral compositions of these crops at different ripening stages will serve as a dietary guidance as well as provide information on the usefulness of their peels which are disposed as wastes in the environment.

  • Plantain             Plantain (Musa paradisiaca) is a tall plant of 10-33 feet tall with a conical false “trunk formed by the leaf sheaths of its spirally arranged leaves which are 1.5-3m long and about 0.5m wide. They originated primarily from South Asia. The fruit is an important source of energy as a staple food in the tropics. It belongs to the family Musaceae and the genius Musa. They are similar to bananas but are much larger in size. Over 2.11 million metric tons of plantains are being produced in Nigeria annually, which contributes substantially to the subtropical local populations (FAO, 2005). Plantain generally contains high fiber content and thus is capable of

lowering cholesterol in the body and also help to relieve constipation, hence prevention of colon cancer. Besides this, its high potassium content has been found to be very useful in the prevention of high blood pressure and muscle cramp (Ng and Fong, 2000). Plantains fruits can be eaten unripe, ripe and over-ripe. When they are unripe, its peels are green in color but when ripe, they become yellow in color. In Nigeria, unripe plantains are usually cooked as porridge, cooked with beans or roasted and eaten with oil or even fried as chips. When ripe, they can be cooked or even fried and eaten as food. The chemical compositions of plantains vary and literature has noted that there are a number of factors responsible for this, including maturity, soil type, degree of ripening, variety and climate changes. Badyen et al., found significantly, high levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and calcium in fully ripe plantain pulp but low levels of iron, copper, zinc, and sodium. Plantains are a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.  Plantain peels are described as a waste after the fruit has been eaten, thereby constituting a menace in the environment especially where the consumption is common (Omole et al., 2008). The peels are by-products of the plantain processing industries and local consumers, which are normally dumped in landfills or rivers (Oma et al., 2007).                                                                              These peels can be useful in the production of different products like soap, composite feedstock for growing snails, composite manure, etc


1.1.2    Banana

Banana is an edible fruit belonging to the genus Musa. Its scientific name is Musa balbisiana. They are grown primarily for their fruit that can be eaten either when the peels are green or yellow (ripe and unripe). The banana plant is known to be the largest herbaceous flowering plant. All the above-ground parts of a banana usually grow from a structure called a “corm” (Stover and Simmonds, 1987). Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive more than other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amount of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium (Brodsky and Allen 1978).                                                                                                                During the ripening process of bananas, they produce ethylene gas which indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and consequently have a “starchier” taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter than green bananas due to their higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the rectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens (fruit ripening Feb 17, 2013).

Table 1; General Cultivation Requirements of Banana and Plantain      

Cultivation Requirements Plantain      Banana
Climate Hot & humid Tropical or sub tropical
Soil type Humus soil Moist soil
Cultivars Cadaba, Brazilian, French horn, Giant plantain. Musa accuminata, Musa balbisiana, Cavendish, etc.
Planting time Beginning of rainy season All year round
Mode of     propagation Suckers Suckers
Crop geometry 3mx2m spacing and 30-60cm deep in the soil 1.82-1.52m spacing and 45cm deep in the soil
Harvesting time 9-11 months 9-12 months
Soil pH 5.5-7.0 6.5


1.1.3    Uses of Banana Peels

  1. The inside of the banana peel can be rubbed on the teeth as teeth whitener.
  2. It can be used as wart cure to remove a wart and it takes 1-2 weeks.
  3. They can help to relieve bug bites and poison ivy.
  4. Rubbing banana peels on bruises help to aid them disappear.
  5. They can be used as compost manure for the soil.
  6. Banana peel rubbing on acne will help in the curing process.
  7. Researchers have found out that drinking boiled banana peel helps to ease depression
  8. The banana peels can be used as a shoe polish for leather shoes.
  9. They can be used as an additive in making of vinegar.
  10. Banana peels can be used in making banana peel juice which is rich in nutrients.
  11. They can be used as livestock feed for chicken, rabbits, pigs, etc.

1.1.4    Uses of Plantain Peels

  1. They can be used as anti-wrinkle treatment.
  2. Plantain peels can be used to treat warts and poison by rubbing them on the affected areas.
  3. They can be used as composite feedstock for growing snails.
  4. Plantain peel ash can be used for soap production.
  5. When they decompose, they can serve as composite manure to the soil.
  6. Traditionally, plantain peels are used to treat stomach ulcers and it is believed that the gums in the plantain peel helps to heal the wound.
  7. They may be used as feed to feed livestock.

1.1.5    Overview of Minerals in Plants

A mineral is a naturally occurring homogenous substance that is represented by a chemical formula which is usually solid and inorganic and has a crystal structure. Minerals are required by plants as part of their food, to form their structure, plant metabolism and their external supply. In its absence, the plant is unable to complete a normal life cycle and plant yield will be deficient.

1.1.6    Minerals of Interest in Plantain and Banana Peel and their Functions.                                                            

  1. Potassium; Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in good egg production in livestock, increases weight gain, improves feed efficiency, reduces mortality, help maintain water balance, maintain acid-base balance, activate enzymes, help metabolize carbohydrates and proteins, regulate heartbeat and regulate neuromuscular activity along with Ca. In crops, it helps them get through periods of stress and increases crop yield in an uncertain environment.
  2. Iron; Iron is an important mineral for making haemoglobin, a part of blood cells. It helps in oxygen transport in the blood, oxygen storage in muscle tissues and its deficiency may cause dist urbances in tissue metabolism. Iron in soil, helps in nitrate and sulfate reduction and energy production within the plant. It is also essential in the formation of chlorophyll.
  3. Calcium; In plants, calcium participates in the metabolic processes of other nutrient uptake, promotes proper plant cell elongation, strengthen cell wall structure, participate in enzymatic and hormonal processes, helps in protecting plants against heat stress, helps in protecting plants against diseases, affects fruit quality and has a role in the regulation of stomata. In livestock, calcium aids in bone formation and development, blood clothing, muscle contractions, nerve impulse transmission, cardiac regulation, etc.
  4. Phosphorous; In livestock, it aids in the development and maintenance of skeletal tissue, maintenance of osmotic pressure and acid-base balance, energy utilization and transfer, protein synthesis, transport of fatty acids, amino acid exchange, appetite control, efficiency of feed utilization and fertility. In crops, it aids in regulating protein synthesis, cell division, development of new tissue, energy transformations in plants, promoting root growth and hastens maturity.

1.2        Objectives of Study                                                                                                                

In view of the nutritional benefits of plantain and banana peels at different ripening stages, this study were designed, to compare the mineral composition of ripe and unripe plantain and banana peel obtained from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State of Nigeria. The detailed study of the present work will contribute to the generation of data that will serve as a dietary guidance for livestock and also review other important uses of the peels as compost manure. This will further create awareness on the importance of the peels of these plants normally regarded as waste which cause a great menace in the environment.

1.3       Statement of Problem

The incessant rate of waste mismanagement of wastes from agro-based industries and human consumption of banana and plantain fruits have become an impediment in the society, causing health challenges and nuisance in the society and has become a global concern.

1.4       Scope/ Limitation             

The present study will be limited to the following;

  1. To review the literature so as to know the different mineral composition of the ripe and unripe plantain and banana peels at different ripening stages.
  2. .Determination of the various concentrations of the following minerals of interest; Ca, K, Fe and Mg in the different samples.

1.5       Significance of Study                                                                                             

With the increase in the consumption rate of plantain and banana fruits in the country, leading to the generation of increased banana and plantain peels normally regarded as waste. Any work on the mineral composition of these peels will be greatly significant as it will create awareness on the usefulness of these peels, thereby reducing waste generation in the state. The result on the current work on ripe and unripe banana and plantain will benefit the following;

  1. Plantain farmers, as this will lead to more demand for the peels leading to more consumption of their fruits, thereby reducing cost..
  2. The farmers, as the use of these peels as compost increases productivity and yield of crops in their farms.
  3. The general society as this will reduce the menace caused by the peels of these fruits thereby having a healthier environment.
  4. The livestock farmers as this will help reduce the cost of production and improve their productivity.


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