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Dole, Pharma Foods tout banana-based material in fight against flu

JIJI

A banana-based food could help combat influenza outbreaks, according to research by Pharma Foods International Co. and Dole Japan Inc.

In the joint research project, which also included the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, a material called Banafine was fed to a group of 10 mice over 10 days, before they were infected with the flu virus.

The mice were compared with another group that was infected with the flu virus but were not fed Banafine.

In the first group, only one mouse died within the 10-day period, while in the other group, five died on or before the eighth day.

Japan-based Pharma Foods and Dole Japan, a unit of U.S. food giant Dole Food Co., developed Banafine by putting unripe bananas through enzymatic degradation and fermentation processes.

“It has been confirmed that Banafine consumption improves immunity from viruses that enter the body,” a Pharma Foods official said Tuesday. “We want to release Banafine health foods such as supplements including the material.”

The results of the research will be announced at a meeting of the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science that starts on Friday in Ebetsu, Hokkaido.