How to tell whether a banana is ripe

banana turn blue when theyre ripe How to tell whether a banana is ripeOkay, this is probably not that difficult – if the skin is green and it feels as hard as a rock, it probably isn’t going to taste too good. Yellow and soft is best.

Well, a team of scientist have recently discovered if you are blessed with X-ray vision, then ripe bananas are BLUE.

Chlorophyll turns blue in ripe bananas

Turns out that as chlorophyll degrades during the ripening process, breakdown products accumulate in the peel of the banana.

The breakdown products are able to absorb the energy from light in the UV range to give off a blue glow. So when viewed under disco lights, the ripe banana turns into a blue finger.

The level of blue increases as the banana ripens, but once it reaches its sell by date, i.e. it is over ripe and bordering on vrot, the blue hue disappears.

Banana only property

Glowing metabolites are not unique to bananas, but they are the only fruit (discovered so far) that is able to sustain it for long.

Long enough to be seen………..provided you have the ability to see into the UV range.

Banana diners do UV

Animals who dine on bananas for a living, are often able to see in the UV range, so being able to spot ripe bananas would be helpful.

No need to climb the tree and do a manual inspection of the goods. A quick eye scan would indicate a high quality product.

Seeing blue bananas

Of course, seeing blue bananas as a human being is only possible if you have acquired a superpower within your genes, have indulged in a little pharmacological magic or are dancing the night away under party lights.

But if you are seeing blue bananas – they’re good for you.

Blue Luminescence of Ripening Bananas.Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2008) 47(46):8954-8957.  Simone Moser, Thomas Müller,  Marc-Olivier Ebert, Steffen Jockusch,  Nicholas?J. Turro, Bernhard Kräutler.


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Further reading

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