Going bananas: from risky businesses to latest authentication technologies

Z. Wang, S.W. Erasmus, S.M. van Ruth
Food fraud is common in many supply chains. Apart from paper trails, the implementation of control measures is key to combat those fraudulent activities, also in the banana supply chains. A first step in this process is to bridge the knowledge gap between origin and bananas, between the geographical/production origin factors on the one hand and the chemical and physical signatures of bananas on the other hand. There is particularly a need for rapid, low-cost methodologies that can be used to control fraud. In this study, spectral features of Cavendish bananas of different geographical origins and production systems were deciphered using near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Bananas from six countries, i.e., Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominica Republic, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, were assessed. The NIR spectral data were correlated with proximate compositional data to interpret the spectral differences observed. Bananas from Dominican Republic and Ecuadorian farms showed distinct NIR signatures in comparison to the bananas of other origins. These differences appeared to be correlated with their (higher) starch contents and other compositional characteristics. Organic bananas revealed more exceptional, differential proximate compositions than their conventional counterparts, but these differences were not clearly reflected in the NIR signatures. In conclusion, spectral and compositional signatures of bananas reflect certain origin aspects, and these findings can be used to develop authentication tools to assist in the control of the integrity of value chains.
Wang, Z., Erasmus, S.W. and van Ruth, S.M. (2023). Going bananas: from risky businesses to latest authentication technologies. Acta Hortic. 1367, 311-318
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1367.36
banana, food fraud, geographical origin, NIRS, organic production, spectroscopy

Acta Horticulturae