Objective: Daily consumption of raw banana improves human health because of its resistant starch. Breakdown of starch during ripening and processing, makes it unavailable for fermentation by gut microbiota. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of ripening and processing on prebiotic potential of banana. Methodology: Fermentation ability has been assessed in vitro and in vivo. In vitro prebiotic evaluation of banana was carried out for raw, ripe and processed banana as a sole carbon source in modified medium. In vivo evaluation was carried out after 4 weeks of administration of raw and ripe banana pulp flour to male Wistar rats. Results and Discussion: In vitro prebiotic evaluation of banana resulted increase in L. acidophilus populations, pH reduction, increase in total titratable acidity than control. In a 4-week animal trial, daily administration of raw banana pulp flour increased CFU/gm of Lactobacillus species in caecum content and lowered the pH of the caecum significantly. Acidic pH of gut created by fermentation of prebiotic provides unfavorable condition for the growth of pathogens. Bacteriocin produced by Lactobacilli inhibited the growth of pathogens. Protection of large intestine from pathogens improves health of large intestine. Physicochemical changes during ripening and processing significantly reduced the prebiotic potential of banana.
Key words: Banana, L. acidophilus, Prebiotic, Resistant starch.