An all-natural banana

On the next page, you will find a poster from a website created by James Kennedy, a chemistry teacher in Melbourne, Australia. You might have already heard about this poster since his “all-natural banana” has gone viral with two million views. Just think, two million people are now aware of the chemicals in a piece of fruit.

His site is worth a visit and you can freely download the PDF of the poster of the “all-natural ingredients of a banana” as well as a variety of other fruit and food, such as blueberries and an egg. You can also order the poster, or better yet a bright and colourful T-shirt. I am definitely getting one!

James explains the poster best:

“As a chemistry teacher, I want to erode the fear that many people have of ‘chemicals’, and demonstrate that nature evolves compounds, mechanisms and structures far more complicated and unpredictable than anything we can produce in the lab.”

James has a blog on his site that is worth a read. I would also recommend reading the many interesting comments that the blog generates.

In this blog, James gives this opinion about ingredients.

“I usually care too much about food labels. If something has monosodium glutamate (E621) or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, I’m probably not going to buy it no matter how healthy or delicious the food looks as a whole. (Strangely, I’d be willing to eat it, though.)

“Some people care about different ingredients such as ‘E-numbers’. I made this graphic to demonstrate how ‘natural’ products (such as a banana) contain scary-looking ingredients as well. All the ingredients on this list are 100% natural in a non-GM banana. None of them are pesticides, fertilisers, insecticides or other contaminants.

“There’s a tendency for advertisers to use the words ‘pure’ and ‘simple’ to describe ‘natural’ products when they couldn’t be more wrong. With this diagram, I want to demonstrate that ‘natural’ products are usually more complicated than anything we can create in the lab. For brevity’s sake, I omitted the thousands of minority ingredients found in a banana, including DNA.”

As an added bonus for chemistry teachers, James also includes a lesson plan to use with the poster. It is a great introduction to organic chemistry — blog post on February 27, 2014.