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Press Release 09-170
Bananas Gone Bad Glow Blue in UV-Light

Holds promise for studying how organisms cleanse themselves of dying cells

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Artist's illustration of how chlorophyll byproducts light up cell deconstruction in bananas.

As bananas age, the chlorophyll in their peels breaks down into particles called FCCs (fluorescent chlorophyll catabolites). Since these glowing particles occur in close proximity to dying tissue, they hold promise of lighting the way in studying programmed cell death.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Image of a ripe banana that is yellow with brown spots in visible light, but glows blue in UV.

Ripening bananas glow blue in UV light, developing halos around the dying tissue of the dark spots. On the left is a photograph of a banana using "white" daylight. On the right is a photo showing the banana in "black" light.

Credit: Simone Moser, University of Innsbruck, Austria, et al.


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