Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ethylene Gas & Ripening Produce

The ripening of mature Haas* avocados, lemons, bananas, pears, and some other produce can be induced and accelerated by exposure to Ethylene gas -- a plant “ripening hormone".
Ethylene gas (C2H4) is an odorless, colorless gas ... In nature, the largest producers are ... fruits, vegetables and floral products ... which produce ethylene within their tissues and release it into the surrounding atmosphere. It is also a by-product of man-made processes, such as combustion … The common practice of placing a tomato, avocado or banana in a paper bag to hasten ripening is an example of the action of ethylene on produce. Increased levels of ethylene contained within the bag, released by the produce itself, serves as a stimulant after reabsorption to initiate the production of more ethylene. The overall effect is to hasten ripening, aging and eventually spoilage.”
*commonly misspelled "Haas"