Per Wikipedia definition about the chemical composition of "Banana Oil" is as follows:
"Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid. It is a colorless liquid that is only slightly soluble in water, but very soluble in most organic solvents. Isoamyl acetate has a strong odor which is also described as similar to both banana and pear. Pure isoamyl acetate, or mixtures of isoamyl acetate, amyl acetate, and other flavors may be referred to as Banana oil."
"Esters are formed by the reactions of organic acids and alcohols created during fermentation. In fact, the naming convention for esters is alcohol for the first word and acid for the second word, hence isoamyl is the alcohol part of the reaction during fermentation and acetate is the acid."
Banana Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size 1 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long) (118 g)
Per Serving % Daily Value*
- Calories 105
- Calories from Fat 4
- Total Fat 0.4g 1%
- Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
- Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
- Monounsaturated Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg 0%
- Sodium 1mg 0%
- Potassium 422.44mg 12%
- Carbohydrates 27g 9%
- Dietary Fiber 3.1g 12%
- Sugars 14.4g
- Protein 1.3g
- Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 17%
- Calcium 1% · Iron 2%
- *Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Conclusion: to say that "Banana oil is essentially isoamyl acetate" seems true, but such "oil" is not present in bananas that I can tell. I'm attaching a link to an actual research paper on "General Stress Responses in the Honey Bee", dated from 2012. A quick word search on the paper did not reveal any occurences of the words: isoamyl or acetate". Maybe someone else can add to this.
While banana oil can be used to artificially flavor foods and such, because we humans essentially can't tell the difference, my bet is that the bees can. . . and they don't care about the real bananas smell one iota! In other words: synthetic banana smell = bee stress hormone smell but not = to real banana smell.
Hypothesis: if isoamyl acetate is in fact stress hormones generated by bees, and we know that real bananas don't contain any isoamyl acetate at all, then we might conclude that bees like bananas, and the adverse reactions while feeding ripe bananas are the result of something else.
Thanks for the opportunity to discover more about this topic.