The variability in fruit micronutrient contents in a selection of Central and West African Musa varieties cultivated under standardized field conditions was studied. Analysis of the within-fruit, within-hand, and within-plant as well as the between-plant variations demonstrated that both provitamin A carotenoids (pVACs) and mineral micronutrient (Fe, Zn) contents vary significantly across all sample groups. The variations in pVACs contents appear to be at least partly related to differences in the developmental status of the fruit, but the observed trends were genotype-specific. The mean pVACs concentrations per genotype indicated that there is substantial genetic variation in the fruit pVACs contents between Musa cultivars, with orange-fleshed plantain varieties (AAB) having generally higher fruit pVACs contents than dessert bananas (AAA). It was not possible to identify consistent trends between the sampling position and fruit Fe/Zn contents. Once the within-bunch micronutrient variability has been accounted for, the mean variations in fruit micronutrient contents between individual plants of a variety generally fell to within acceptable limits. Results are discussed within the framework of standardizing sampling and developing strategies to screen for the nutritional values of new and existing Musa varieties.
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2007) 55 (7) 2633-2644 [doi: 10.1021/jf063119l]