Say Goodbye to Brown Bananas: New Chinese Spray Could Slow Ripening

Chinese scientists have created spray-on coating that prevents bananas from over-ripening.

Dutch prosecutors said Friday more than eight tons of cocaine was hidden among the bananas on a ship from Ecuador.

Dutch prosecutors said Friday more than eight tons of cocaine was hidden among the bananas on a ship from Ecuador.

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There might finally be light at the end of the tunnel for banana lovers frustrated with their yellow fruit turning brown in what seems like a matter of days.

Chinese scientists from the Tianjin University of Science & Technology say they've developed a spray-on coating that can stop bananas from over-ripening for up to 12 days, which means no more storing fruit in the freezer until you've got enough motivation to make some banana bread.

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"We have developed a way to keep bananas green for a longer time and inhibit the rapid ripening that occurs. Such a coating could be used at home by consumers, in supermarkets or during shipment of bananas," Xihong Li, who presented his research to the American Chemical Society's national convention Wednesday, said in a statement.

The coating, made from chitosan, which is derived from shrimp and crab shells, slows down the banana's "breathing," the process where it takes in oxygen that causes it to ripen. It also kills bacteria that cause bananas to rot.

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According to The Packer, a trade magazine that covers the produce industry, bananas are Americans' favorite fruit and "nearly all consumers buy bananas." An estimated 6.4 billion pounds of bananas make their way into American homes every year. Despite the fact that nearly three fourths of Americans said they are comfortable selecting ripe bananas at the grocery store, untold millions of bananas meet their demise due to premature browning.

Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at jkoebler@usnews.com