Heavy metal in banana (Musa acuminata) varieties sold by fruit vendors in Enugu state, Nigeria
Background: The use of ripening agents to trigger uniform and quick ripening of banana have been associated with heavy metal intoxication. Determining the levels of heavy metals in banana which is a common fruit consumed in Enugu State and Nigeria guides relevant authorities to regulate the use of pesticides and ripening agents used by banana sellers to make every food safe for consumption.
Objective: The study evaluated the presence of heavy metals in four varieties of banana consumed in Enugu State.
Methods: Samples of each banana variety were obtained from different banana vendors at different markets in Enugu State respectively. Edible portion of similar varieties from different vendors were homogenized after removing the peel. The homogenized samples were analyzed for heavy metal (arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium) content using standard methods. The weight of the banana varieties were measured to estimate the average size of the edible portion of a single banana. The data were subjected to statistical analysis to compare the mean of the heavy metal scores of the banana samples. A p-value <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Green Mutant banana variety had the lowest lead content (0.0107 mg/kg). Mercury was not present in all the banana samples. Arsenic was only found in Red Dacca banana variety, (0.0007 mg/kg). Red Dacca banana variety presented the highest value (0.0030 mg/kg).
Conclusion: The study provided invaluable information on the heavy metal composition of banana varieties commonly consumed in Enugu state. The findings revealed that Red Dacca banana variety contains a significant amount of heavy metals which can contribute significantly to its build up in body cells.
Keywords: Banana; heavy metals; food contaminants; fruits
Manuscripts are accepted for publication with the understanding that no substantial part has been, or will be published elsewhere. By submitting a manuscript, the authors agree that the copyright is transferred to the publisher if and when the articles, including reprints, photographic reproduction and translation are accepted for publication. Copyright owner is the Dietitians Association of Nigeria. An abstract at the beginning of an article may be reproduced without specific permission provided the original citation is provided. Statements made and opinions expressed in letters to the Editor, Editorials, Presidential address, book reviews and other special articles appearing in this journal are views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Journal or the Association.