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indian scientists have developed a method to extract banana juice. Despite the fruit having an 85 per cent water content, scientists have long struggled to extract its juice. Costly and complicated techniques, using external enzymes, were evolved to break down the fruit lining storing the moisture, but none were able to prove successful. "Our technique works without using external enzymes. We just reduce the bananas to pulp and then treat it in a reaction vessel for four to six hours," reveals K K Surendranathan of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai. The process is said to be economical, as one kilogramme of pulp yields about 600-650 millilitres of juice.
The drink has a sugar content of 30-35 per cent, which allows it to be stored for up to four months at a temperature below 15c. According to Surendranathan, a range of products can be developed from the juice, including nectar, carbonated banana drink or wine.
Ironically, only a few companies have shown interest in adapting the process for commercial use. "Entrepreneurs like the drink but they are not sure of the market reaction," says Surendranathan.