Banana powder is a powder made from processed bananas. It is used as a component for production of milk shakes and baby foods. It is also used in the manufacture of various types of cakes and biscuits.
Banana powder is formed by using banana pulp, which is mechanically chopped and then processed with hydraulic shear using a colloid mill, turning it into a paste. Sodium metabisulfite is then used to brighten the yellow color of the paste. The paste is then dried by either spray- or drum-drying, although the latter is more common because none of the paste is lost while drying. The drum-drying also produces about 2% more powder and also dries it more thoroughly. Regardless of the drying process banana powder can generally only stay fresh on the shelf for about a year before passing its expiration date.
The use of banana powder in baby formula has been widespread since the very early 1900s as a method of keeping babies healthy. In 1916 it was also considered to be one of the "important industries of the West Indies" during this period, along with dried banana "figs".
The United Fruit Company began to produce a product named Melzo during the 1930s, in which banana powder was the main ingredient. Because of the useful properties of banana powder, Melzo was marketed as a "health food for children and old folks, as a corrective for certain indigestions, and as a revitalizer for all who are sluggish mentally or physically".
Banana powder, because of its high concentration of banana essence, has been found to be a "major source of carbohydrate and calories". While it is generally low as a source of protein, the beneficial ingredients of the powder are still "markedly superior to that of other fruits". The powder has also been found to be useful as a general treatment for dyspepsia (indigestion).
In 1984, scientists from India were able to extract part of the "antiulcer compounds" found in banana powder, which ended up creating a type of powder that was "300 times more active" in preventing ulcers in the stomach. It was later discovered that the banana powder also increased cell growth, which allowed more rapid healing of the area where ulcers had previously occurred.
- "The Hindu Business Line : BARC develops tech to make biscuits, baby food from banana". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Scofield Wilson, David (1999). Rooted in America: foodlore of popular fruits and vegetables. Univ. of Tennessee Press. pp. 28–29. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- H. Hui, Yiu; Stephanie Clark (2007). Handbook of Food Products Manufacturing: Principles, Bakery, Beverages, Cereals, Cheese, Confectionary, Fats, Fruits, and Functional Foods. Wiley-Interscience. p. 873. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1989). Utilization of Tropical Foods: Trees. Food & Agriculture Org. pp. 33–34. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Association of Food Technologists (2007). "Packaging and storage studies on spray dried ripe banana powder under ambient conditions". Journal of Food Science. John Wiley & Sons. 44: 16–19.
- Pamphlets on Biology: Kofoid collection, Volume 147. 1900. pp. 12–15. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- United States. Bureau of Manufactures (1916). Commerce reports, Volume 4. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, United States Dept. of Commerce. p. 290. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Sri Avinashilingam Home Science College (1976). The Indian journal of nutrition and dietetics, Volume 13. Sri Avinashilingam Home Science College for Women. pp. 218–224. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- Al-Achi, Antoine (2008). An introduction to botanical medicines: history, science, uses, and dangers. ABC-CLIO. p. 80. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
- "Rats with ulcers go bananas". New Scientist. Reed Business Information: 22. 6 September 1984.
- R.K. Goela; Saroj Guptab; R. Shankarc; A.K. Sanyal (1986). "Anti-ulcerogenic effect of banana powder (Musa sapientum var. paradisiaca) and its effect on mucosal resistance". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 18 (1): 33–44. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(86)90041-3. PMID 3821133.
- Wang, Juan; Li, Yuan Zhi; Chen, Ren Ren; Bao, Jin Yong; Yang, Gong Ming (January 2007). "Comparison of volatiles of banana powder dehydrated by vacuum belt drying, freeze-drying and air-drying". Food Chemistry. 104 (4): 1516. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.02.029.
- von Meysenbug, L.; Fine, Archie (May 1936). "Banana powder and the fecal flora of infants". The Journal of Pediatrics. 8 (5): 630. doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(36)80163-2.