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Characteristics of mountain bananas in French West Indies

Bugaud C., Daribo M.O., Rosalie E., Beauté M.P., Hubert O., Dubois C., Brat P., Chillet M.. 2010. In : Dubois T. (ed.), Hauser S. (ed.), Staver Charles (ed.), Coyne D. (ed.). Proceedings of the International Conference on banana and plantain in Africa : harnessing international partnerships to increase research impact, Mombasa, Kenya, October 5-9, 2008. Louvain : ISHS [Belgique], p. 95-103. (Acta Horticulturae, 879). International Conference on Banana and Plantain in Africa: Harnessing international partnerships to increase research impact, 2008-10-05/2008-10-09, Mombasa (Kenya).

Banana (Musa spp.) production is a key economic resource in the French West Indies. It is essential that growers in this region enhance their sales by proposing new products, such as mountain bananas (AAA genome, Cavendish subgroup), in response to high market competition from other exporting regions where production costs are lower. The quality of mountain bananas is officially recognized in Europe under the label Mountain Banana on the basis of a real taste difference. All French West Indian bananas grown over 250 m above sea level, which respect agronomic specifications, can be sold under the label. Mountain bananas can be objectively distinguished from lowland bananas: at harvest, they are denser, bulkier and less susceptible to wound anthracnose caused by Colletotriclmm mllsae, probably due to their higher mechanical resistance. Sensorial differences have also been observed in ripe bananas. At the same harvest stage and under identical ripening conditions, mountain bananas have a firmer texture, more intense yellowish pulp, and higher sugar and aromatic compound contents than lowland bananas. A jury-taste-test analysis confirmed the sensorial differences between lowland and mountain bananas. However, mountains bananas presented the poorest contents in Mg, P and Ca, partially due to the nature of the soil components. Based on a multi-site study, temperature and rainfall during bunch growth are the main factors that distinguish mountain bananas. (Résumé d'auteur)

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