Why does my banana fruit (Berkuba) have brown spots?

Asked August 18, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT

My Berkubas have always had brown spots on the fruit, all bunches, for the past 4 years. I had some health problems and did not believe I would ever garden again, but my health has had a turnaround and thankfully I am gardening again. I am an organic gardener, and am sure someone knows exactly what my bananas have. My plants are beautiful, now that I am watering them, but the fruit has brown spots--not on the peel, just on the flesh. Thanks for your interest and your time. Don

St. Croix County Virgin Islands of the U.S.

3 Responses

Good Day Don, Thanks for using our Ask an Expert service! Dr. Louis E. Petersen responded with the information below. Feel free to contact him if there's anything further you need to discuss. His contact info is also below: The issue of fruit spotting on bananas, including bakuba, is quite common and part of the ripening process. Excessive spotting, including blotchy and large sunken areas on the skin is attributed to fungal growth. The sunken areas are characteristic of a condition called Anthracnose. Despite the unattractive nature of the fruits, the condition poses no harm to human health. In commercial operations fruit bunches are covered and protected; fruits are also dipped or washed in fungicides. However, in small scale operations, including back yard production systems, this is rarely done. Mr. Coley seems to make reference to spotting on the pulp (not the skin) of the fruit. He also makes reference to spotting appearing on his bunches. Typically, the actual peeled fruit would only have spots and blotches if the fruit was externally bruised at an earlier stage of development or if the fruit is very over ripened. Secondly, bunches of fruit on the plant would not typically develop spotting unless they are allowed to ripen on the plant. When the level of anthracnose is very severe fruit bunches on the plant can develop lesions (large areas of black discoloration). If watering of the leaves and bunches is being done, this should be discontinued. This promotes fungal growth, especially if the plants are wet throughout the night. I hope that this response is helpful to Mr. Coley. Perhaps he can verify whether or not I have an accurate picture of his problem. If he still has concerns or questions I would be pleased to follow up with him. Regards, Louis E. Petersen, Jr. Ph.D. Assistant Director, St. Thomas/St. John District Agriculture & Natural Resources Program Cooperative Extension Service University of the Virgin Islands #2 John Brewers Bay St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands 00802-9990 Tel. (340) 693-1083 Fax (340) 693-1085 Email: louis.petersen@live.uvi.edu

Thank you Dr. Petersen for responding so thoroughly and so quickly.

I need to clarify some. I don't have any blemishes on the skin of my bananas, and when I mentioned the brown spots being on all the bunches I intended to communicate that all the fruit flesh on all the bunches have the brown spots. The spots are about the size of and up to about twice the size of an asterisk (*) with my print size set at 125% normal. And, they generally are superficial up to about 1/8-1/4 inch deep in the flesh of the fruit. The spots don't effect the flavor at all, nor do they seem to change the texture of the flesh in any way. I just know it is a signal that something is not quite right. I've had Bekuba (thanks for spelling it for me, I had never seen the word in print) for several years. I had an infestation of insects which bored into the trunk, traveled down and became big grubs (I think) and ate roots. The infestation was quite serious, and not wanting to use chemicals, Mr. Chichester told me I would have to dig them up and leave the ground bare for about 1-1/2 years (I think, this was 8-9 years ago). I did that, and got a slip from a friend. Unfortunately, all her plants were in very poor shape, and I may have brought something with the poor plant. These Bekuba have never been very healthy. It is only now, after not gardening at all for over three years, that my efforts at cleaning up the bed, mulching and watering, are producing healthy LOOKING plants. This bunch that I was referring to I have just finished consuming. I just cut the brown spots out. There tend to be at least 6-8 brown spots on the flesh of each piece of fruit. It is there regardless of the state of ripening, and there are no blemishes on the skin.

If this is not ringing any bells, I'll wait until I have another bunch and contact you then. This malady is not effecting my short plaintans. Thank you so much for your attention.


Hi Don, You can go ahead and email Dr. Petersen directly. He's not yet registered with this system so here's his email address: Louis.petersen@live.uvi.edu Thanks again!