'Asupina' at a glance


Photo by Jeff Daniells





ITC code


'Asupina' is a cultivar that belongs to a group of bananas domesticated in the Pacific region, the Fei bananas. Like many of the cultivars in this group, it has high levels of provitamin A carotenoid that are transformed into vitamin A in the body. 'Asupina' supplied the APsy2a gene that was introduced to a Cavendish cultivar by scientists at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia1 . The gene encodes the protein phytoene synthase, which plays a role in the pathway leading to the formation of ?- and ?-carotene.The proof of concept is part of a project to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in Uganda by engineering local cultivars2 .

Morphological characteristics

The pendulous bunch and molecular characterization data suggest hybridization with Musa acuminata3 .

The peel colour of the ripe fruit is orange. The texture of the fruit pulp is soft and its colour yellow/orange.

Agronomic traits, yield and fruit characteristics

An 'Asupina' accession collected in Papua New Guinea was evaluated on-station in Australia4 . The first crop cycle took 14-15 months and the ratoon one 9-10 months. The height of the pseudostem varied from 3 to 4.5 m over two crop cycles, and the bunch weight from 5 to 20 kg.

Nutritional value

Photo by Jeff Daniells
Photo by Jeff Daniells

In a study comparing ten cultivars that had yellow to orange fruit with two Cavendish cultivars, 'Asupina' had the highest level of trans ?-carotene, the most important provitamin A carotenoid (1,412 ?g/100 g of fresh weight, or more than 20 times the level in the Cavendish cultivars). Consumption of 2 to 3 fingers of this cultivar could provide half of the estimated vitamin A requirements for a nonpregnant, nonlactating adult woman5 .


1 Full Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) for Limited and Controlled Release of banana genetically modified for enhanced nutrition published by the Australian Government Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. Accessed 26 June 2014.
2 Super bananas – world first human trial, Queensland University of Technology
3 Molecular characterization of Musa germplasm, p. 15 in the 1998 INIBAP Annual Report
4 Arnaud, E. and Horry, J.P. (eds.). 1997. Musalogue: a catalogue of Musa germplasm. Papua New Guinea collecting missions, 1988-1989. INIBAP, Montpellier, France. 363 pp.
5 Englberger, L., Wills, R.B.H., Blades, B., Dufficy, L., Daniells, J.W. and Coyne, T. 2006. Carotenoid content and flesh color of selected banana cultivars growing in Australia. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 27(4):281-291(11).

See also on this website

Local names for 'Asupina' in the cultivar checklist
Musapedia pages on cultivars: