The plantain pith works as the electrolyte, allowing an electric current to flow between the two electrodes. When several cells are connected to each other, they produce enough current to light an LED. (Photo: Rhitu Chatterjee)

1. Plantain trees are a common sight throughout Sri Lanka. People often grow them in their yards, especially in rural areas. This cluster of trees was on the campus of the University of Kelaniya, just outside of Colombo. (Photo: Rhitu Chatterjee)

2. Plantains are available throughout the year. People cut the stems to harvest the fruit, then leave the tree trunks to decay. (Photo: Rhitu Chatterjee)

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