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The Effect of Ethylene on the Ripeness of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Agriculture & Soil, Hygiene & Quality Control

Understand the effect of ethylene on ripeness of fresh produce with these great infographics and learn to control ethylene levels, in order to extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables.

What is Ethylene?

  • Ethylene is a gas produced by petroleum and natural gas, that also occurs as a natural plant hormone
  • It affects plants and many plant processes, such as root growth and fruit ripening
  • Ancient Egyptians even used ethylene to ripen fruit – they would gas figs to stimulate ripening
  • Today, ethylene levels are manipulated to delay, or even to induce, fruit ripening

Science at home:

Place an unripe fruit, such as an avocado, in a bag or even in a bowl next to ripe bananas and the ethylene produced by the bananas will speed up the ripening process.

Do not place a vase of fresh flowers next to ripening fruit, or the flowers will speed up aging and they will die sooner.

Ethylene in Postharvest Technology

Ethylene is a vital postharvest tool that allows management more control over the ripening of fresh produce.

Managers can hasten or delay the ripening process, thus extending the life of fresh fruit during transportation or in storage rooms.


Scientific measurements help to take the guesswork out of the ripening process and allow you to manage the timing of picking, transporting, storage and shelf-life of fruit and vegetables.

Selectech has just launched a new range of innovative, easy-to-use, Fresh Produce Gas Analysers that measure ethylene, together with oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Cutting edge technology adds WI-Fi capabilities and GPS locations as features.

Highly recommended:

FACT SHEETS – Details of Ethylene Production and Response to Controlled Atmospheres for individual varieties at UCDavis.edu website


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