We describe a rapid and efficient method for isolation of total RNA from banana fruit tissues. The RNA was extracted with a high ionic strength buffer at room temperature. The proteins, genomic DNA and secondary metabolites in the extract were then removed by precipitation with pre-cooled potassium acetate and repeated phenol/chloroform/isoamyl alcohol extractions. The RNA was recovered by ethanol precipitation. It was relatively free of ribonucleases and was suitable for RT-PCR and northern blot analysis. The procedure can be completed in less than 4 hours.