Grand Nain

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Musa acuminata 'Grand Nain'
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F079081-0035, Bonn, Marktstände.jpg
Majority of the Cavendish bananas sold in the world market belong to the Grand Nain cultivar.
Species Musa acuminata
Cultivar group AAA Group
Cultivar 'Grand Nain'

Grand Nain bananas (also spelled Grande Naine) are banana cultivars of Musa acuminata. It is one of the most commonly cultivated bananas and a source of commercial Cavendish bananas. It is also known as the Chiquita banana, because it is the main product of Chiquita Brands International.[1][2]

The Cavendish bananas sold by Chiquita Brand are of the Grand Nain cultivar.

Taxonomy[edit]

Grand Nain variety of banana in a farm at Chinawal village in India

Taxonomically speaking, the Grand Nain is a monocot and belongs to the genus Musa. Species designations are difficult when considering bananas because nearly all banana cultivars are descendants and/or hybrids of the Musa acuminata or Musa balbisiana, wild species that have been propagated for agricultural use.

The Grand Nain is a cultivar of the well known Cavendish bananas. This group of bananas is distinguished from other groups by their AAA genotype. The AAA genotype refers to the fact that this group is a triploid variant of the species M. acuminata. There are 33 chromosome present in the AAA cultivar and all produce seedless fruits through parthenocarpy.[3] This fact means that the plants are spread by conventional vegetative methods and lack sexual reproduction. This inability to genetically diversify makes Grand Naines as well as other AAA cultivars vulnerable to disease and pests.[4]

The accepted name of Grand Nain is Musa acuminata (AAA Group) 'Grand Nain'.

'Grand Nain' or 'Grand Naine' literally translates from French meaning "Large Dwarf."[3]

Appearance[edit]

The name Grand Nain refers to its relative height compared to the Giant Cavendish and Dwarf Cavendish cultivars. The Grand Nain cannot typically be distinguished from other Cavendish cultivars without growing the plants side by side and comparing the heights.[5] The plant, like other banana plants, is an herbaceous tree that produces large oblong leaves. The leaves often become torn or tattered at the ends as a result of mechanical stresses such as wind. Being an angiosperm, the Grand Nain produces large inflorescences which develop into the edible fruit.[6]

Economic relevance[edit]

Bananas are ranked as the fourth most cultivated crop in the world and constitute a significant portion of many populations' caloric intake.[7] While this includes all cultivars, the Grand Nain has become one of the most popular varieties for commercial plantations. Its characteristic medium height and large fruit yields make it ideal for commercial agriculture. The moderate height allows easy harvesting and some resistance to windthrow (plants breaking due to strong winds).[5] The seedless quality of the fruits also increases its popularity. Plantations growing Grand Naines range from the tropical regions of Central America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. In many tropical communities, entire local economies are based upon banana production and exportation.[8]

A bunch of Grand Nain Cavendish bananas being weighed for research.

Because of its importance as a staple crop as well as a cash crop, much botanical research has focused around the Grand Nain. Furthermore, its lack of genetic diversity eliminates unwanted experimental variables increasing the validity of observed results. Of particular interest is banana plant sensitivity to aluminum which slows growth and causes leaf abnormalities. Researchers found that introducing different species of mycorrhizal fungi can increase aluminum toxicity resistance.[9] Also because of the sterility of most banana cultivars, another concern eliciting research is the inability to breed banana plants resistant to disease. For this reason, researchers have experimented with inducing genetic mutations in the hopes of creating more economical plants.[4]

Ecological impact[edit]

Because bananas are such a large and important crop in many tropical regions, the cultivation has several ecological ramifications, the most obvious of which is the clearing of rainforest. In the past, these ecological impacts as well as accusations of employee abuse plagued large corporations like Chiquita, Del Monte, and Dole (the three of which control two-thirds of the banana market).[8] Within the past 10 years though, companies like Chiquita have taken steps to improve public relations by introducing more sustainable agricultural techniques. These include the utilization of kidney weed which discourages weed growth without adversely affecting banana plants. Chiquita has also established a 284-acre (1.15 km2) reserve in Costa Rica and now recycles many waste materials associated with the industry.[10] These efforts have reduced but not eliminated ecological concerns associated with banana plantations.

Issues discussed apply to all banana cultivars commercially farmed of which the Grand Nain constitutes the majority.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Commercial variety ('Chiquita') 'Gran Nain' Banana Plant Banana Tree". http://www.greenhousebusiness.com/. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Lisa Beth Voldeck (2010). "Indoor Banana Trees". http://www.bellaonline.com/. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Randy C. Ploetz. Banana and plantain—an overview with emphasis on Pacific island cultivars. Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry, Feb. 2007 ver. 1
  4. ^ a b K.P. Martin et al. RAPD Analysis of a Variant of Banana (Musa Sp.) Cv. Grande Nain and its Propagation Via Shoot Tip Culture. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol.—Plant,March–April 2006 42:188–192
  5. ^ a b "worldwideplants.com". worldwideplants.com. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  6. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Biology
  7. ^ K.P. Martin et al. RAPD Analysis of a Variant of Banana (Musa Sp.) Cv. Grande Nain and its Propagation Via Shoot Tip Culture. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol.—Plant, March–April 2006 42:188–192
  8. ^ a b Shah, Anup. "The Banana Trade War — Global Issues". Globalissues.org. Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  9. ^ G. Rufyikiri et al. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Might Alleviate Aluminium Toxicity in Banana Plants. New Phytologist, Vol. 148, No. 2 (Nov., 2000), pp. 343-352
  10. ^ "Green bananas? Chiquita teams up with the Rainforest Alliance. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2012-01-27.