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International Food Research Journal 21(2): 749-754 (2014)
Journal homepage: http://www.ifrj.upm.edu.my
1Fernando, H. R. P., 1,2*Srilaong, V., 1,2Pongprasert, N., 1,2Boonyaritthongchai, P. and
1Postharvest Technology Program, School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut’s University of
Technology, Thonburi, Bangkok 10140, Thailand
2Postharvest Technology Innovation Center, Commission of Higher Education, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Changes in antioxidant properties and chemical composition during ripening
in banana variety ‘Hom Thong’ (AAA group) and ‘Khai’ (AA group)
Massive changes in chemical composition and antioxidant properties usually occur in fruits
during maturation and ripening. In this study, changes in ascorbic acid content, phenolics
content, antioxidant activity (DPPH and FRAP), soluble solid content (TSS) and sugar content
during ripening of two banana cultivars at 25 ± 2oC were investigated. Fully mature green banana
fruit (cv. Hom Thong, AAA group and cv. Khai, AA group) were used for the experiment. The
total ascorbic acid content of both cultivars was increased slightly with ripening and reduced
with the starting of senescence. Total phenolic content in ‘Khai’ banana decreased in the rst
two days and then signicantly increased until day 6. However, the total phenolic content was
reduced at the fully ripened stage in both banana cultivars. Total antioxidant activities (DPPH
and FRAP) in both cultivars, increased with ripening and decreased rapidly with senescence.
‘Khai’ banana had higher amounts of antioxidant components and total antioxidant activity
than ‘Hom Thong’ banana. There was no correlation between antioxidant activities and
ascorbic acid content or phenolics content. TSS and total sugar contents increased rapidly in
both cultivars until fully ripen stage and then declined thereafter. TSS and sugar contents were
Fruit consumption is very important for reducing
the risk of many diseases including chronic diseases
(Beecher, 1999), heart disease (Gordon, 1996),
inammation, cardiovascular diseases and cancers
(Bae et al., 2008). These diseases are related to
elevated levels of oxidative stress in the body due to
damage of lipids, proteins and nucleic acids molecules
(Leong and Shui, 2002). Antioxidant compounds are
substances that may protect from oxidative damages
by reactive oxygen species thereby minimizing
the incidence of the above diseases. Antioxidant
compounds suppress the formation of reactive oxygen
species and free radical reactions in the body.
Banana is a tropical plant which is able to protect
from the oxidative stress caused by high intensity
of sunlight and elevated temperature by raising its
antioxidant ability (Kanazawa and Sakakibara, 2000).
Banana fruits contain various antioxidant compounds
in both pulp and peel tissues, such as vitamin C,
vitamin E, β-carotene and avonoids. Macheix et
al. (1990) also reported that banana pulp contains
high amount of total phenolics and tannin. Some
enzymes in banana pulp are involved in elevating its
antioxidant capacity (Someya et al., 2002).
The antioxidant ability of many fruits including
banana depends on the cultivar, maturity and ripening
stage (Shewfelt, 1990; Mozafar, 1994; Lee and Kader,
2000). The ripening process of eshy fruits affects
the changes of chemical and nutritional contents
(Sisler et al., 2003). Change of antioxidant capacity
and chemical compositions of banana has been
reported during ripening (Thaipanit and Anprung,
2010). Suleiman et al. (2011) reported that levels
of antioxidants compound varied with cultivar and
maturity in Malaysian bananas. Highest antioxidant
levels were exhibited in cv. ‘Mas’. Wall (2006)
found that Dwarf Brazilian banana has almost three
times more vitamin C (12.7 mg/100 g fresh weight)
than ‘Williams’ banana (4.5 mg/100 g) and Dwarf
Brazilian banana had also higher β-carotene content
than Williams banana. The present study aimed to
compare the chemical composition and antioxidant
activities and determine the correlation between
antioxidant compounds and free radical scavenging
ability in pulp extracts of ‘Hom Thong’ and ‘Khai’
banana during ripening at 25 ± 2°C.
Materials and Methods
Mature, green ‘Hom Thong’ (Musa sp., AAA
group) and ‘Khai’ (Musa sp., AA group) bananas
Total antioxidant activity
Received: 20 October 2013
Received in revised form:
2 December 2013
Accepted: 9 December 2013
750 Fernando et al./IFRJ 21(2): 749-754
were obtained from a market in Bangkok. Fruit
samples were selected for uniformity in green color
and size and freedom from defects. Selected fruit
hands were cut in clusters with 3-4 fruit ngers each,
washed 0.5% MgSO4 solution to remove the latex
from the cut surfaces (Nguyen et al., 2004), rinsed
in tap water, and then dipped in 100 ppm sodium
hypochlorite solution as a disinfection treatment. The
samples were then air dried before storage.
Determination of total ascorbic acid content
Total ascorbic acid content was measured
following the DNPH method (Kapur et al., 2012). 5
grams of fresh sample was extracted with 20 mL of
5% Meta phosphoric acid using a homogenizer in an
ice bath. The extract was ltered using whatman # 01
lter paper and a clear sample was taken. 0.2 mL of
0.02% indophenol solution was added with 0.4 mL
of sample extract and incubated 2-3 minutes until it
became a stable reddish-pink color. After that, 0.4
mL of 2% thiourea and 0.2 mL of 2% DNP solution
were added and then incubated 3 hours at 37ºC in a
hot water bath. Then, 1 mL of 85% sulfuric acid was
added and then incubated at room temperature for 30
minutes. The absorbance was determined at 540 nm
using a UV visible spectrophotometer (Shimadzu,
UV-1601, and Japan). A standard curve was prepared
using standard ascorbic acid with concentrations of
20,40,60,80 and 100 mg L-1.
Determination of total phenolics content
Total phenolics content was measured using the
Folin- Ciocalteau method (Singleton, 1999). Three
grams of fresh pulp sample was extracted with 25 mL
of 80% ethanol using a homogenizer in an ice bath.
The homogenate was centrifuged at 11,000 rpm and
4ºC for 25 minutes and a clear sample was taken. 2.5
mL of distilled water and 0.15 mL of 0.25 N fresh
Folin-Ciocalteau solution were added with 0.1 mL
of sample extract. The sample was incubated for 3
minutes and 300 μL of 1N sodium carbonate solution
was added. Thereafter, samples were incubated in
dark conditions at 23ºC for 2 hours. The absorbance
of the resulting blue colored solution was determined
at 760 nm using a UV visible spectrophotometer
(Shimadzu, UV-1601 and Japan). A standard curve
was prepared using the same procedure with a series
of garlic acid.
Determination of total antioxidant activity
Total antioxidant activity of banana pulp was
measured by the FRAP method (Benzie and Strain,
1996) and DPPH method (Krings and Berger, 2001).
In the FRAP method, 3 grams of fresh sample was
extracted with 25 mL of 80% methanol using a
homogenizer in an ice bath. The homogenate was
centrifuged at 15,000 rpm and 4ºC for 20 minutes.
2,850 μL of FRAP working solution was added with
150 μL of supernatant and incubated for 30 minutes
in dark conditions. FRAP working solution contained
300 mM of acetate buffer (3.6 pH), 10 mM of TPTZ,
and 20 mM of Fecl3.6H2O with ratio of 10:1:1. The
fresh FRAP working solution was warmed at 37°C for
4 minutes before using. The absorbance of the resulting
blue colored solution with Fe2+ was determined at 593
nm using a UV visible spectrophotometer (Shimadzu,
UV-1601 and Japan).
In the DPPH method, 3 grams of fresh samples
were extracted with 25 mL of 80% ethanol using a
homogenizer in an ice bath. The homogenate was
centrifuged at 15,000 rpm and 4ºC for 20 minutes.
2,850 μL of DPPH fresh working solution was added
with 150 μL of supernatant and incubated 30 minutes
in dark conditions. The absorbance of the solution
was determined at 515 nm using a UV visible
spectrophotometer (Shimadzu, UV-1601 and Japan).
Determination of total sugar content
Total sugar content in the samples was measured
following the sulfuric method (Dubois et al., 1956).
1 gram of fresh pulp sample was extracted with 10
mL of 80% ethanol using a homogenizer in an ice
bath. The homogenate was ltered using whatman
#04 lter paper. 1 mL of 5% fresh phenol solution
was added with 1 mL of sample extract and 5 mL
of 98% sulfuric acid was added thereafter. The
absorbance of the resulting brownish-yellow colored
solution was determined at 490 nm using a UV
visible spectrophotometer (Shimadzu, UV-1601 and
Japan). A standard curve was prepared using the same
procedure with a series of D - glucose, at 10, 20, 40,
60 and 80 μg mL-1.
Determination of total soluble solids
Total soluble solids content was measured on
a fresh juice sample from whole banana fruit using
a digital Refractometer (Brix 0 - 32%; STAGO,
The experimental data were subjected to
analysis of variance and mean comparison using
the SAS computer software. Pearson’s correlation
test was used to determine the correlation between
the antioxidant activities of two independent tests
(FRAP and DPPH) and phenolic or ascorbic acid
content. Same procedure was used to determine the
correlation between TSS and total sugar contents.
Fernando et al./IFRJ 21(2): 749-754 751
The p-value less than 0.05 (p < 0.05) was considered
Results and Discussion
Ascorbic acid content
Ascorbic acid content of ‘Khai’ banana was about
two times higher than that of ‘Hom Thong’ banana
(Figure 1). During storage and ripening at 25oC,
ascorbic acid content generally increased until full
ripe stage at 8 days of storage. Thereafter when the
fruit became over-ripe and senescent, ascorbic acid
The results support previous ndings of several
workers. Wall (2006) reported that AA bananas
generally contain higher ascorbic acid or Vitamin
C than AAA bananas. Wenkam (1990) earlier found
lower vitamin C content of Cavendish bananas
(AAA) due to their higher moisture content than that
of AAB and AA cultivars. In ‘Mas’ bananas (AA
group), Osman et al. (1998) obtained increasing
ascorbic acid content with ripening, with highest
level at the fully ripened stage, as similarly obtained
in the present study. The decrease in ascorbic acid
content when the fruit became over-ripe has been
noted also in ‘Williams’ banana (Wills, 1983). The
increase in ascorbic acid content with ripening has
been attributed to the increase in lipid peroxidation
considering that fruit ripening which is an oxidative
phenomenon that requires turnover of active oxygen
species (Jimenez et al., 2002). Under this condition,
antioxidant compounds including ascorbic acid
‘Khai’ banana had higher phenolic content than
‘Hom Thong’ banana during whole storage period
(Figure 2). With ripening, phenolic content increased
in ‘Khai’ banana and was higher after 6-8 days when
fruit ripened compared to that of green fruits. In Hom
thong banana, no such increase in phenolic content
was noted during ripening; instead, phenolic contents
decreased after 2 days at the onset of ripening and
remained almost at the same level the following 6
days when ripening advanced before decreasing
again on the 10th day when the fruit became over-ripe.
Banana cultivar variations in phenolic content have
been observed in earlier studies (Award et al., 2001;
Kondo et al., 2005; Priya Darsini et al., 2012). In
general, phenolic content, particularly tannins which
are responsible for astringency taste of unripe fruits,
decreased with ripening mainly due to polymerization
rendering them insoluble and undetectable to taste.
In the present study, the decrease in phenolic content
with ripening was noted only in ‘Hom Thong’ banana
whereas in ‘Khai’ banana, phenolic content increased
with advancing ripening, particularly at 6 days of
holding, before slightly decreasing at 8 days when
the fruit fully ripened and markedly decreasing at 10
days when the fruit became over-ripe. Newilah et al.
(2010) reported similar results in hybrid banana in
which phenolic content increased during ripening
before decreasing at the full ripe stage.
DPPH scavenging and FRAP activities were
higher in Khai banana than in Hom Thong banana
which was maintained throughout the ripening
period (Figure 3). Khai banana showed dramatic
increases in DPPH and FRAP activities which
were highest after 6 and 8 days when fruit ripened,
Figure 1. Change of total ascorbic acid content (mg/100 g
fresh weight) of banana (●) cv. Hom Thong (■) cv. Khai
during ripening at 25°C for 10 days
Figure 2. Change of total phenolic content (mg
GAE/100g fresh weight) of banana (●) cv. Hom Thong
(■) cv. Khai during ripening at 25°C for 10 days
Figure 3. Change of total antioxidant activity (mmol
TE/100 g fresh weight) of banana (●) cv. Hom Thong
(■) cv. Khai in two different methods (A) DPPH and (B)
FRAP method during ripening at 25°C for 10 days
752 Fernando et al./IFRJ 21(2): 749-754
respectively. In Hom Thong banana, DPPH activity
slightly increased only with ripening while FRAP
activity more than doubled after 4 days of storage and
then decreased with advancing ripening. In general,
DPPH and FRAP activities decreased in over-ripe or
senescent fruits in both cultivars. Antioxidant activity
expressed as radical scavenging activity usually
differed with ripening stage due to differences in
concentrations of antioxidant compounds (Raffo et
al., 2002). Kondo et al. (2005) revealed that DPPH
radical scavenging activity was associated with total
phenolic content in the plant tissues. Pinelo et al.
(2004) further showed that carotenoids, vitamin C,
vitamin E, phenolic compounds and their interactions
contribute to the overall antioxidant activity. In the
present study, Khai banana had higher ascorbic
acid and phenolic contents which could account
for its higher antioxidant activity than that of Hom
Thong banana. Ascorbic acid and phenolic contents
increased with ripening in Khai banana while only
ascorbic acid content increased during ripening of
Hom Thong banana. These changes in antioxidant
compounds relate well with the changes in antioxidant
activities. Direct association of antioxidant activity
and antioxidant compound was also obtained in other
fruits (Baskar et al., 2011; Patthamakanokporn et al.,
2008; Sulaiman et al., 2011).
Sugar content and TSS
Khai banana showed an increasing sugar content
with advancing ripening and was highest after 8 days
of storage when the fruits ripened fully (Figure 4).
Sugar content leveled off two days later when the
fruit became over-ripe. In contrast, Hom Thong
banana had increasing sugar content during the rst 4
days of storage; thereafter, sugar content decreased.
TSS content showed the same trend and was highest
after 8 days in Khai banana and after 4 days in Hom
Thong banana (Figure 5). Peak sugar content was
slightly higher in Hom Thong banana (165 mg/100
g fresh weight) than in Khai banana (145 mg/100 g
fresh weight) while peak TSS content (about 23oB)
was almost similar in both cultivars. Increasing sugar
content and TSS is a typical characteristic in ripening
bananas due to increased starch to sugar conversion
(Pinto et al., 2004). Cordenunsi and Lajolo (1995)
also found dramatic decreases in starch content
concomitant with increases in sugar content. However,
TSS may not totally reect the sugar content of fruits.
Khai and Hom Thong bananas showed differences in
sugar content which were not reected in their TSS
levels. Similar results were reported in previous
studies on bananas (Emaga et al., 2007; Regina
and Gloria 2005), strawberries (Tian et al., 2000),
oranges (Porat et al., 1999), apricot and plums (Dong
et al., 2002), custard apple and mango (Hofman et
al., 2001) and apples (Rupasinghe et al., 2000).
Table 1 shows the correlation coefcients (R2) for
ascorbic acid content or phenolic content and total
antioxidant activity (FRAP and DPPH). There was
no signicant correlation between the antioxidant
compounds and antioxidant activity except for
ascorbic acid content and FRAP in Khai banana. On
the other hand, sugar content was strongly correlated
with TSS in both cultivars, with R2 values of 0.7359
and 0.8732 in ‘Hom Thong’ and ‘Khai’ bananas,
respectively (Table 1).
Previous works have shown positive correlations
between antioxidant compounds and antioxidant
activity in fruits (Pinelo et al., 2004; Priya Darsini
et al., 2012; Raffo et al., 2002). However, Sulaiman
Figure 4. Change of total sugar content (mg/100 g fresh
weight) of banana (●) cv. Hom Thong (■) cv. Khai during
ripening at 25°C for 10 days
Figure 5. Change of total soluble solid content (°Brix) of
banana (●) cv. Hom Thong (■) cv. Khai during ripening
at 25°C for 10 days
Table 1. Correlations of antioxidant components to total
antioxidant activity (FRAP and DPPH) and TSS to total
sugar content of ‘Hom Thong’ and ‘Khai’ banana during
ripening at 25°C
Pa ram ete rs Cult ivar co eff icient Pvalue
AsA a nd FRAP HomTh ong 0.11 58 0.5 093
AsA a nd DPPH HomTh on g 0.4 414 0. 150 1
AsA a nd FRAP Kh a i 0.6 904 0.0 405 *
AsA a nd DPPH Kha i 0 .10 70 0.5 268
TPC an d FRAP HomT hon g 0.1 022 0 .202 2
TPC an d DPPH Hom Tho ng 0 .05 08 0.80 60
TPC an d FRAP Kha i 0.3 157 0 .245 9
TPC an d DPPH Kh a i 0.4 579 0 .139 9
TSS a nd t ota l suga r HomT hon g 0.7 359 0 .028 9*
TSS a nd tota l suga r K ha i 0.87 32 0.0 063 *
AsA= Total ascorbic acid content, TPC = Total phenolics content, TSS = Total soluble
solids content. Correlation coefcient (R2) was determined following Pearson’s
correlation test and the p-value less than 0.05 (p < 0.05) was considered as statistically
Fernando et al./IFRJ 21(2): 749-754 753
et al. (2011) obtained only minor to moderate
correlation between phenolic contents and antioxidant
activities in nine Malaysian banana cultivars. Samee
et al. (2006) working on 28 types of Thai fruits
also noted only fair correlation between ascorbic
acid content and antioxidant activity. They further
found that multiple regressions that combined more
antioxidant compounds (total acid, phenolic and
ascorbic acid contents) produced higher correlations
with antioxidant activity; when compared with single
antioxidant compound, moderate or low correlation
with antioxidant activity was found. This nding was
also obtained in the present study.
On the other hand, sugar content and TSS are
usually strongly correlated as 60-80% of sugars
account for the TSS in ripe fruits (Winsor et al.,
1962). Siriboon and Banlusilp (2004) reported that
the increased breakdown of starch to soluble sugars
contributed to the increase in TSS in banana fruit.
Total antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid content,
phenolic content, TSS and sugar content increased
with ripening and then declined when the fruits were
at the over-ripe stage. These changes were more
evident in Khai bananas which had higher antioxidant
compounds and antioxidant activity compared to
‘Hom Thong’ banana.
We gratefully acknowledge the nancial
support for the research from the Thai International
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