Why One Rotten Apple Spoils the Barrel?

🍎🍌What happens if you store bananas with apples?

🍎Apples are climacteric fruits with increased respiration as they mature, and they produce large amounts of ethylene. Ethylene is a plant hormone that has a variety of effects. Ethylene induces and activates gene expression of enzymes involved in color change (🟢chlorophyll degrading enzymes and 🟠🟡🔴carotenoid synthases), flesh softening (cell wall hydrolases), generation of aroma compounds and so on.

🧫The enzyme involved in ethylene production has several isozymes, and the mechanism is very complex. Ethylene itself is a regulator of ethylene production. Ethylene production in mature fruits is accelerated by ethylene, which is referred to as “autocatalytic ethylene production”. This is why fruits and vegetables ripen faster when stored with apples🍎🍎🍎. And of course, if you leave them for a long time, they will rot.

🍎Which fruits are affected by ethylene? 🍌🍈🍐🍉The images below summarize the fruits that are prone to ethylene production and the fruits that are sensitive to it (all data was cited from reference 2). Ethylene sensitive fruits ripen faster when stored with apples. I also like to store avocados🥑🥑🥑 with apples to soften them. However, be careful not to keep them too long otherwise they will rot.

🥝🥝🥝Kiwis are sensitive to ethylene, but they cannot initiate ethylene synthesis by themselves. However, once it is given ethylene, it will be able to synthesize ethylene by themselves. It is an autocatalytic system. 🥕🥬🥦🫑In addition, many vegetables are also ethylene sensitive.


1. M. Tatsuki “Ethylene Regulation of Fruit Ripening and Senescence” Bull. Natl. Inst. Fruit Tree Sci. 2007, 6, 11.

2. UC DAVIS Postharvest Technology

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