Bananas are probably the most important fresh fruit in the world in terms of production and international trade, but it is a very delicate fruit that is easily damaged and has a comparatively short marketable life. Bananas are harvested while still green and unripe and allowed to ripen naturally or, more commonly, treated with a chemical to initiate ripening. The chemical and physical changes that occur during banana ripening and the way they can be controlled has been the subject of an enormous number of research papers for more than a century. This book deals exclusively with how bananas are ripened. However, the technology used is based on, and has implications with, a whole range of factors. These include the cultivar, growing conditions and how and at what maturity the fruit are harvested and handled. Also, various preharvest and postharvest treatments can be applied to bananas and how these impact with the ripening process can have effects. There are well established successful technologies that have evolved and are applied, particularly in more developed temperate countries where bananas are imported. However, most bananas are marketed locally in the country where they are grown and often different technologies are used in the ripening process, which have technical, economic and health implication. All these factors are discussed and interacting implications are considered.
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