Banana and Its Peel

Does the banana draw nutrients (even if just sugar) from the peel as it ripens? I noticed my over-ripened, now black banana peel is painfully thin. And while the banana itself is edible (catching it just before it turns to mush), it makes me wonder if this is true. Surely someone in the botany department of the SD masses can answer this. What’s happening here?

FYI: Googling around, there are plenty of uses for a banana peel (besides slapstick comedy)…but no answer. Even Wiki gives its coefficient of friction!

To the best of my knowledge, there is no mechanism that would transfer nutrients from the banana peel to the flesh once the banana has been picked. The peel becomes thinner because it is breaking down and losing moisture. Any weight that it loses will be in the form of gases to the atmosphere.

You might want to also look at the wikipedia article on ripening:

Essentially, the fruit is in a process of slow decay. The complex fibers, starch, and other materials break down over time into simple sugars, making them easier to digest.

This (terribly designed) website gives a decent breakdown:

I’m not a biologist, but I believe the reason why the banana is so thin when it’s over-ripe is because:
[li]the cell walls have collapsed[/li][li]the fiber has decayed[/li][li]a lot of the meat is stuck to the peel[/li][/ul]
Wait even longer, and the inside of a banana will be little more than goo smeared on the inside of the peel - if you can get it to peel at all.

Can that be generalized among fruits?

Yes. There’s not really a system to transfer anything between the peel and the rest of the fruit.

Huh. Never thought of that, always assumed (like OP, I guess) some had it more, some less.

That’s why we have a skin and an apple has a peel.