Wild banana ripe for greater functional food and nutraceutical examination: Review

By Millette Burgos

- Last updated on GMT

In clinical trials, the efficacy of M. acuminata to relieve inflammation in combination with western medicine has been proven, say researchers.
In clinical trials, the efficacy of M. acuminata to relieve inflammation in combination with western medicine has been proven, say researchers.

Related tags Antioxidant Nutrition

Wild banana (M. acuminata), which has long been used in traditional medicine in South East Asia, is worthy of further investigation to assess its functional food and nutraceutical development on a larger scale, a new academic review suggests.

Previous studies have highlighted the use of M. acuminata to help treat of various diseases such as fever, cough, bronchitis, dysentery, allergic infections, sexually transmitted infections, and some of the non-communicable diseases.

The reported pharmacological activities of M. acuminata include antioxidant, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, hypolipidemic, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial -activity, researchers from India wrote in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology​.

“This review presents information on the phytochemicals and pharmacological studies to validate the traditional use of different parts of M. acuminata in various diseases and ailments. A comprehensive assessment of the biological activities of M. acuminata extracts is included and possible mechanisms and phytochemicals involved have also been correlated to provide effective intervention strategies for preventing or managing diseases,” ​they added.

While the edible part of M. acuminata provides energy, vitamins and minerals, the phytochemical analysis of different parts of the plant, including fruit, peel, flower, leaf, pseudostem, and rhizome has shown the presence of a rich diversity of phytochemicals like saponin, terpenoids, steroids, anthocyanin, fatty acids, tannins, phenols, and alkaloids, said reserachers writing in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

The academics added the phytochemical content varyied depending on the extraction method employed and compounds identified in the various plant parts.

The researchers stated one of the proteins in the pulp of ripe M. acuminata fruit has been identified as a lectin called BanLec and is reported to possess potential anti-HIV activity.

On the other hand, the roots or rhizome when triggered with fungal infection produced compounds such as anigorufone, an anti-fungal phenyl-phenalenone phytoalexin.

Naproxen, a known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug was also isolated from the rhizome of M. acuminata.

The reviewers further note: “The drugs isolated from M. acuminata demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in human tumour cells, and significant anti-inflammatory effects of a few extracts on nitric oxide (NO) inhibitory activity has been shown. The immune-stimulating potential of M. acuminate extract was also demonstrated in experimental animals (rats, fishes and catfishes), and the extracts were able to suppress the acetic acid induced writhing response of mice.

“In clinical trials, the efficacy of M. acuminata to relieve inflammation in combination with western medicine has been proven, which validates the traditional medicinal uses of the M. acuminata in the management of inflammation.”

Antioxidant appeal

In food application, unripe banana peel extract was found to be an effective stabilizer of sun flower oil. Under accelerated storage conditions, oil with 200 and 300 mg/L of the extract of unripe banana peel prevented primary and secondary oxidation, indicating its potential application as a source of natural antioxidants to suppress lipid oxidation in the food industry.

“The antioxidant property of several extracts of banana peel in terms of prevention of oxidation of fish oils (stored at 25 °C for 30 days) was analyzed by measuring the peroxide value and para-anisidine value; and lower values in fish oils containing the extracts in comparison to the fish oil without extract were reported,”​ the reviewers said.

The prebiotic properties of the fruit pulp at different ripening stages were also explored, indicating that at a certain ripening stage, the potential to produce functional food that is rich in prebiotic activity could be achieved.

The authors advised that further investigations are nowneeded to confirm various pharmacological claims, and to explore the potential of M. acuminata for functional food and nutraceutical use.

“Investigations are also required to characterize various phytochemicals present in M. acuminata that work individually or synergistically with other compounds or known drugs to provide the ameliorative or protective effects against various diseases.”


Source:  Journal of Ethnopharmacology

DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.12.009

“Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of wild banana (Musa acuminate Colla): A review”

Authors: Nimisha Sarah Matthew, Pradeep Singh Negi

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