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12.06.2018 14:37

Banana peels instead of band-aids? Research about the healing powers of the banana

Thomas Joppig Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

    Bananas are not only tasty to eat, they can also heal. In many developing countries, open wounds are covered with banana leaves or peels instead of a band-aid; even larger wounds can be treated successfully. A team of scientists at Jacobs University Bremen, led by Chemistry Professor Dr. Nikolai Kuhnert, has now taken a closer look at the healing power of bananas and identified 70 different substances that could be responsible for wound healing.

    The research project was initiated by a visiting professor at Jacobs University, Prof. Dr. Mubo Sonnibare, a pharmacist from Nigeria, who was financed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In western Africa, as in many parts of Asia, bananas are traditional remedies. However, this is not the Cavendish banana commonly found in German supermarkets, to which no healing power is attributed, but the Musa acuminata, another plant species.

    Like coffee or tea, the banana is characterized by many polyphenolic, i.e. aromatic compounds. Some have an antibacterial and disinfectant effect, which helps protect a wound from bacterial infections. Others have an astringent, or tightening, effect that can be felt on the tongue, for example. When these compounds come into contact with the skin, they alter its proteins and form a kind of protective layer over the wound.

    In order to determine what healing power the individual compounds have, further, time-consuming tests would have to be carried out, as a whole series of factors play a role in wound healing. "This research has given us a deeper understanding of a traditional drug," says Kuhnert. The results of the study have now been published in the Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization.

    Questions will be answered by:
    Prof. Dr. Nikolai Kuhnert | Professor of Chemistry| Tel.: +49 421 200-3120

    About Jacobs University Bremen:
    Studying in an international community. Obtaining a qualification to work on responsible tasks in a digitized and globalized society. Learning, researching and teaching across academic disciplines and countries. Strengthening people and markets with innovative solutions and advanced training programs. This is what Jacobs University Bremen stands for. Established as a private, English-medium campus university in Germany, it is continuously achieving top results in national and international university rankings. Its almost 1,400 students come from more than 100 countries with around 80% having relocated to Germany for their studies. Jacobs University’s research projects are funded by the German Research Foundation or the European Research Council as well as by globally leading companies.
    For more information:

    Thomas Joppig | Corporate Communications & Public Relations
    Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
    Campus Ring 1 | 28759 Bremen | Germany
    Phone: +49 421 200 4504 | Fax +49 421 200 494504

    Commercial registry: Amtsgericht Bremen, HRB 18117
    President/ Managing Director: Prof. Dr. Michael Hülsmann (Geschäftsführer)
    Chair Board of Governors: Prof. E. Jürgen Zöllner (Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender)

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