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Why do banana skins get thinner as the fruit ripens? © Getty Images

Why do banana skins get thinner as the fruit ripens?

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Like most fruit, the banana has developed to ripen and allow for the best seed dispersal, and that includes changes to its inedible skin.

Asked by: Kirsty Nesbitt, Waterlooville

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The skin of an unripe banana is full of water. Although the skin is quite watertight on the outside, water is gradually lost from the skin by osmosis to the fruit inside as the banana ripens. This causes the skin cells to wilt and collapse, making the overall skin thinner and more pliable. This is probably an adaptation to make the fruit easier to eat when it is ripe, thereby encouraging seed dispersion.


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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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