tomato ripening

Ross Koning Koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Thu Nov 30 16:35:08 EST 1995


At  9:03 AM 11/29/95 -0800, Ken Klemow wrote:
>Yesterday in my Plant Form and Function course, I was discussing fruit
>ripening (especially in relation to the role of ethylene and climacteric).
>One of my students mentioned that her parents hasten the ripening of
>tomatoes at home by leaving them on a counter and placing a dish over them.
>She wanted to know whether that practice had anything to do with ethylene.
>I responded that covering the fruit might promote the accumulation of
>ethylene, and hence the ripening of fruit, but I wasn't really sure.  I
>checked a few of my books on practial botany, and could not find an
>explanation.  If anyone could provide a brief explanation as to why
>partially covering a green tomato promotes its ripening I would be
>grateful.

I think entrapment of ethylene is dubious unless the dish met
the counter surface.  If so, then I WOULD expect this to hasten
ripening.  Temperature effects would also be a possibility.  If
the inverted dish is in any kind of illumination, the contained
space would heat up and this too would accelerate respiration
and attendant ripening processes.

If the containment is truly "partial" then I would assume that
the dish is applying pressure to the skin of the fruit.  This
could be accompanied by "wound ethylene."

ross

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