Golden Banana: A boon to make India malnutrition-free
What’s So Amazing About a Golden Banana?
Banana is one of the extremely significant fruit in the world. Banana is a wealthy source of carbohydrate and is also rich in beneficial vitamins particularly vitamin B, Potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium are also present in a huge amount in banana. This fruit is free from cholesterol as well as fat and is easy to digest. According to FAO estimates, India occupies the highest area under banana cultivation in the world. As per facts, 11% of area used for banana production in the world is in India. India ranks first in banana production, contributing about 23% in world pool of banana production.
The origin of banana generally takes place in South East Asian region, where the greatest diversity of edible bananas is found. More than 120 countries play an important role in producing bananas.
About 650,000 to 700,000 children die throughout the world due to the deficiency Pro-Vitamin A. Several hundred thousand go blind for the same cause. Other symptoms of Pro-Vitamin A deficiency include delayed growth, dry skin, infertility and many more.
As per an international study, pro-Vitamin A deficiency is presently a serious issue faced by the world as a whole. Queensland University of Technology is working hard to device remedies to overcome this deficiency. Recently, scientists at Queensland University of Technology, located in Australia, has announced a break-through wherein an extremely popular fruit will be used as a vehicle for solving this Vitamin A deficiency problem. They’ve remained successful in developing the genes required in the production of a special type fo banana, famously known as “golden bananas.” The golden-orange colour depicts the amount of Vitamin A in the banana. The Bananas are modified genetically by the University researchers possessing high amount of vitamin A.
Preparation of the Golden Bananas prepared
The researchers have originally taken the genes from the naturally pro-vitamin A rich bananas that grow in Papua New Guinea and injected the gene into a Cavendish banana. This way, after years of research, they have remained successful in achieving the production of bananas which possess high levels of pro-Vitamin A. These bananas are therefore golden-orange in colour, much different from the normal cream-coloured flesh.
Prof. Dale said “We have remained successful in our efforts of delivering high nutritional diet to poverty-stricken natives of African countries. Science has worked.”
The results of the research, which was supported by the Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation, were published in Plant Biotechnology Journal. The researchers involved included Ugandan students studying at Queensland University of Technology, with some of them now overseeing field trials in Uganda.
The 10 year long, $10 million humanitarian project was jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with the Department for International Development, Government of United Kingdom The project was led by James Dale of Queensland University of Technology.
Scope of Banana Bio-fortification in India
In India, banana rich in carbohydrates, phosphorus, minerals, potassium, calcium and vitamin-C, is popular for its availability round the year. It is abundant in production and has high acceptability among the consumers due to low cost. In addition, it is also important in tannin, fibre and latex production. Being aware of all its benefits, there is a need to exploit the benefits of this fruit in our country as well.
In fruit production, Banana holds the first number in production quantity. Currently five Indian organizations are working in the field of Banana. There are five Indian partners which are currently working in Banana Bio-fortification.
Queensland University of Technology has agreed to share technology resources and knowledge with following five Indian partners:
1. National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Punjab
2. National Research Center for Banana, Trichy, Tamil Nadu
3. Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra
4. Center for Plant Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
5. Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore, Karnataka
Component deliverables of Banana Bio-fortification in India
1. The first phase of Banana bio-fortification would constitute the development of Poly-vinyl Alcohol & iron bio-fortification of Indian banana by NABI, Mohali and BARC, Mumbai respectively. NRCB, Trichy will work on both.
2. The second phase will possess the Banana Bunchy Top Virus & Fusarium wilt disease resistance components by TNAU, Coimbatore and IIHR, Bangalore, respectively. Efficient Embryogenic Cell Suspension (ECS) culture of the Rasthali by NRCB, Trichy and Grand Nain by BARC, Mumbai will also be developed. The Indian gene constructs will then be compared with the QUT developed gene constructs. The highly-suitable modified bananas will then be evaluated against field conditions in the next phase of the project.
HimBuds.com got this useful information post an interacted with Dr. Siddharth Tiwari, who happens to be the Principal Investigator of Banana Bio-fortification Project at NABI, Mohali. Dr. Siddharth told HimBuds.com that his team is working really hard to achieve best possible results in the Banana Bio-fortification. The successful development of Golden Banana would be breakthrough development to fight malnutrition and diseases caused by Vitamin-A deficiency.