University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (General)

Ethylene measurement and odor

Category
  • Ethylene
Question

I'm studying about the effect of ethylene gas on fruit ripening process. And I have two questions to ask. First of all, I want to know how to measure the rate of ethylene gas production. (I'd like to know an exact method.) And secondly, I'd like to know what is an "odour effect".  If possible, I'd like to study the correlation between odour and ethylene gas. (J.K.)

Answer

Ethylene is a plant hormone that is physiologically active at very low concentrations (0.1 to 10ppm).  The most accurate method for determining ethylene concentration is gas chromatography.  We use a gas chromatograph with a flame ionization detector that enables us to detect as little as 0.01ppm ethylene.  Ethylene enhances several processes associated with fruit ripening, including development of odour-active aroma volatiles (especially esters), which are responsible for the specific smell of each kind of fruit.

-Adel Kader

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