skip to Main Content
Apples Stock Image Featured
August / September 2022

A New Era Dawns for Ethylene Management

SA Fruit Journal: August / September 2022

The old saying about the drawbacks of too much of a good thing also holds true in the context of ethylene and the ripening of fruit. By Zinash Belay

Ethylene is a gas that naturally occurs in fruit and vegetables and acts as a plant growth regulator. Over the years, scientists have successfully synthesised ethylene in laboratories, and it is widely used in the fresh-produce industry to regulate the postharvest ripening of climacteric fruit such as bananas, avocados, plums, kiwifruit and pears. In certain non-climacteric fruit, such as pineapples and citrus, ethylene is applied to de-green the fruit skin postharvest.

Useful as it is, too much ethylene has a negative impact on fruit quality, appearance and shelf life. Studies have shown that even at concentrations as low as and below 0.001 μL L-1, ethylene can cause fresh produce to age prematurely, resulting in discoloration, tissue softening and increased susceptibility to decay.

When and how fresh fruit will react to ethylene, however, is not an exact science, as fruit responses vary widely depending on how much ethylene it contains naturally, the type and developmental stage of the fruit, and storage conditions.

Read More
Back To Top