Banana Peel Scraping (Bio60_2018)

It’s a food that many of us eat every morning, yet most of us probably have not thought about what lies within that characteristic yellow peel at a microscopic level. I collected this specimen by scraping off the inside of a banana peel that was sitting in the top of the trash can in my room, and though it was technically dry-mounted, there was enough moisture remaining in the banana peel to create a thin smear. Under the bright light of my desk lamp, the banana sample was easy to find and focus in the lens. What surprised me the most was the color – I had expected the sample to appear yellow or white, like a banana, but instead the sample was a bright silver! At first I thought I was not looking properly at the banana, but eventually some brown streaks came into view alongside the silver, and I had to conclude that I was, in fact, seeing a primarily silver/gray color where the banana was. I guessed that the brown streaks were because the banana peel had been sitting out for a while and had ripened and browned. I could also clearly see water droplets embedded in different spots around the sample, which fits in with the moisture I observed when smearing the sample. It was difficult to make out details, but I saw what looked like small fibers stretched across spaces where the banana layer became very thin; the sample also appeared to have some tiny craters and grooves in it. Moving forward, I would like to further investigate what banana looks like under a microscope, in several ways. First, I would replicate the banana peel scrapings like this time, to see if my observations remain consistent; second, I would compare the banana peel with the banana fruit itself; and third, I would compare a fresh banana peel with a day-old banana peel (as this one was). Whatever the results may be, this picture sure is bananas!

Microscopic view of a banana peel scraping
This specimen was scraped with tweezers from the inside of a day-old banana peel. Note the unusually silver color and the brown stains.

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