Mineral fertilizers improve the sensory quality of East African Highland bananas (Musa AAA-EA, cv. Kisansa)

G. Taulya, P.J.A. van Asten, K. Nowakunda, P. Kaddu-Mukasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Some farmers in Uganda believe that fertilizers negatively affect the sensory attributes of cooking type bananas. This belief may hamper the adoption of fertilizers. To verify the validity of this belief, bunches (Musa AAA-EA, cv. ‘Kisansa’) from fertilized (i.e. N-P-K-Mg-Zn-S-B-Mo) and non-fertilized plots were harvested from on-station trials in central (Wakiso) and southwestern (Ntungamo) Uganda. Samples were anonymously tagged for preparation (boiled or steamed) and sensory evaluation by farmers from southwestern (n=33) and central Uganda (n=35). Data were analyzed in STATA using Tau-b rank test for proportions, median ranks and odds ratios. The frequency of evaluators ranking fertilized steamed bananas highly (i.e. ‘Best’ or ‘Second-best’) was significantly (P=0.05) higher (60%) than for non-fertilized bananas (42%). The opposite was true for boiled bananas (fertilized, 43% vs. non-fertilized, 60%). Irrespective of site of cultivation and evaluators’ origin, gender or age, fertilizers significantly (P=0.05) improved the appearance, odor, softness and acceptability of steamed bananas. For boiled bananas, attributes did not significantly differ between fertilizer treatments, except for appearance, which was significantly inferior (P=0.05) for fertilized bananas. This study shows that the belief that fertilizers negatively affect the sensory attributes of cooking type bananas is generally incorrect. Only when boiled, fertilized bananas appeared less attractive than non-fertilized bananas. The dominant and traditional way of preparing cooking type bananas in Uganda is through steaming (i.e., matooke). We recommend the application of fertilizer, as it will not only positively affect yield, but also the sensory quality of cooking type bananas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-96
JournalTree and Forestry Science and Biotechnology
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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