Tomekpe, K., Lusty, C., van den Bergh, I., Newilah, G.N., Davey, M., Ekow Akyeampong
Strategies based on the utilisation of cultural and locally consumed foods seem essential for identifying solutions to reduce micronutrient malnutrition in Cameroon and other developing countries. Vitamin A deficiency and associated chronic diseases have recently worsened in many African countries where bananas and plantains are staple foods. The aim of this study is to identify yellow- and orange-fleshed banana and plantain cultivars in the Centre Africain de Recherches sur Bananiers et Plantains de Njombé (CARBAP) collection that contain significant levels of total carotenoids, as well as to evaluate the effect of ripening and boiling on their total carotenoid retention. Two types of colour fan were used for germplasm screening as a proxy for carotenoid content of 104 Musa accessions. Unripe, starting to ripe, ripe and fully ripe fruits of Musa cultivars sourced from the CARBAP collection in Cameroon were analysed for their total carotenoid levels by UV-VIS spectrophotometry at 450 nm. The results showed that ‘Manameg red’(AAA),‘Hung tu’(AA)and‘Enar’(AA),three accessions from PNG, had the highest total carotenoid contents among all the Musa types (plantains, cooking and dessert bananas as well as plantain hybrids) analysed. During post-harvest maturation and processing (boiling), the total carotenoids content of Musa pulps vary significantly with genotypes. The yellow or orange fleshed carotenoid-rich Musa varieties could be considered for promotion to contribute to the alleviation of vitamin A deficiency and associated chronic diseases in target communities.