GM banana set to save eyes and lives in Africa
When you think of a banana, you more than likely think of something sweet, which you may have at the end of a meal or possibly as a in-between fill-me-up snack. But in many parts of Africa, bananas are not consumed as snack food – they are REAL food. In fact, this is pretty much the main food consumed by these communities, who don’t eat more traditional staple foods such as maize and rice.
The plantain banana is not terribly sweet, but starchy, it is eaten fried or ground into “banana” flour for baking and cooking etc. They taste pretty good, but living more-or-less exclusively on banana has one big problem. Banana doesn’t contain enough vitamin A.
And vitamin A deficiency leads to blindness.
Gorilla dieting techniques
I wake up from a peaceful night’s sleep to a scrumptious breakfast, consisting of a bucketful of tasty fruits. Today, the zookeeper has included bananas, paw-paw, some squash and a little cooked sweet potatoe. After a leisurely breakfast , I amble over to one of the “trees” in the enclosure. I deftly clamber up to the top of the tallest “tree” to get a good view of the humans who pass by at regular intervals throughout the day. Groups of humans jump up and down and admire me – some of them make me smile as they pat their chests and honk, others peek out from little boxes (strange). I spend most of the day mooching around, moving in and out of the sun. Just before the sun dips below the horizon, another bucket load of fruit arrives. The evening snack over, I pop inside .and settle down on the fresh straw bed which has been prepared for me. Within minutes I am fast a sleep.
Extract from a day in the life of Mokolo. UNTIL NOW ! Introducing weight watchers for gorillas….
A banana will slip you across the finish line stocked
Forget using an expensive proprietary brand energy drinks – the humble banana, delivers just as much, maybe a smidgen more, than a fancy sports drink. Plus it really is natural and costs a fraction of the price.
How to tell whether a banana is ripe
Okay, 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.
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.
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