The Quest for Golden Bananas: Investigating Carotenoid Regulation in a Fe’i Group Musa Cultivar

The regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis in a high-carotenoid-accumulating Fe’i group Musa cultivar, “Asupina”, has been examined and compared to that of a low-carotenoid-accumulating cultivar, “Cavendish”, to understand the molecular basis underlying carotenogenesis during banana fruit development. Comparisons in the accumulation of carotenoid species, expression of isoprenoid genes, and product sequestration are reported. Key differences between the cultivars include greater carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 4 (<i>CCD4</i>) expression in “Cavendish” and the conversion of amyloplasts to chromoplasts during fruit ripening in “Asupina”. Chromoplast development coincided with a reduction in dry matter content and fruit firmness. Chromoplasts were not observed in “Cavendish” fruits. Such information should provide important insights for future developments in the biofortification and breeding of banana.