SOME NEW RESULTS ABOUT THE PRE-AND POST-HARVEST MATURATION AND RIPENING OF THE BANANA
1a : normal fruits harvested at the normal stage;
1b : same fruits but left on the trees;
2 : comparison between normal and yellow-pulped fruits during their last pre-harvest phases of growth (7 mm increase in caliper).
In n° 1a study, repeated at two different climatic seasons, soluble sugars started to increase in the pulp before the onset of climacterism, but appeared to originate from an hydrolysis of some peel starch whilst pulp starch remained unaffected at this early stage. Comparison between the four n° 1 series (both 1a and 1b at two seasons) showed that the various biochemical processes are not fully synchronized, with no' constant association between pulp colour and degree of ripening.
In n° 2 study, high pulp colours at harvest were associated with increased starch synthesis in the pulp before harvest (instead of the expected hydrolysis), related to an excess of metabolic influx from the vegetative organs. However the starch content of the corresponding peel was depressed, indicating (according to n° 1a study) a start in the ripening process of the whole fruit.
Thus the ripening of the banana cannot be properly studied without consideration to the pulp/peel interrelationships and to their behaviour during the pre-harvest maturation connected with the metabolism of the whole plant.