The rapid ripening of fruits by gases of incomplete combustion—the so-called bivalent compounds—has been known for ages; long ago the Chinese used incense fumes to ripen pears. Today, the problem of ripening the fruit after it has been removed from the plant in a yet immature state is of greater commercial importance than ever in the history of the world. Fruits and vegetables are demanded by the consuming public, irrespective of the season. Oranges, tomatoes, pineapples, green beans, peas and celery can now be obtained on the market practically the year round. This has necessitated quick dispatch of the perishable commodities, and also speedy delivery to the ultimate consumer before decay sets in. To avoid decay, it is the generally accepted practice to pick the fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, while still green. Even then, for instance in winter in Minnesota, it is not uncommon for half a carload
ARTIFICIAL RIPENING OF FRUITS BY ETHYLENE. JAMA. 1927;89(10):792–793. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690100054015
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