Ethylene and the Fruit Ripening Process

Ethylene is an agent in the fruit ripening process. Some fruits produce ethylene gas as they ripen and others are sensitive to it. For example, bananas produce a lot of ethylene, so if you place ethylene sensitive fruit in a paper bag with a ripe banana it will ripen more quickly. However, if you don’t want your ethylene sensitive produce to ripen more quickly, store it separately to the ethylene producers.

Ethylene producing:

• Apple
• Apricot
• Avocado
• Banana
• Fig
• Honeydew
• Mango
• Nectarine
• Passionfruit
• Pawpaw
• Peach
• Pear
• Plum
• Rockmelon
• Tomato

Ethylene sensitive:

• Artichoke
• Asparagus
• Beans
• Broccoli
• Brussel sprouts
• Cabbage
• Carrot
• Cauliflower
• Celery
• Corn
• Cucumber
• Gooseberry
• Greens
• Endive
• Eschallot
• Lettuce
• Okra
• Parsley
• Potato
• Rhubarb
• Silverbeet
• Squash
• Sweet potato
• Zucchini


Debney, H.G. (1980). Handling and Storage Practices for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: Product Manual. South Yarra, Vic.:Australian United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.

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