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Fruit Ripening and Ethylene Experiment


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Fruit Ripening Experiment - Further Study
The dark spots on bananas release a lot of ethylene.

The dark spots on bananas release a lot of ethylene.

Sam, kahanaboy, morguefile.com
Further Investigation

You can take your experiment further with variations, such as these:

  • Fruit produces ethylene in response to bruising or wounding, too. Will the pears or apples in the experiment ripen more quickly if the ethylene concentration is higher, from using bruised bananas rather than undamaged bananas?


  • If you have more bananas, you will have more ethylene. Does using more bananas cause the fruit to ripen faster?


  • Temperature affects the ripening of fruit, too. Not all fruits are affected the same way. Apples and pears ripen more slowly when refrigerated. Bananas blacken when they are refrigerated. You could place a second set of Controls and Test Bags in the refrigerator to explore the effect temperature on ripening.


  • Fruit ripening is affected by whether or not the fruit remains attached to the parent plant. Ethylene is produced in response to removing the fruit from its parent. You can design an experiment to determine whether fruit ripens more quickly on or off the plant. Consider using a smaller fruit, such as tomatoes, which you can find on/off the vine in supermarkets.


After performing this experiment, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are some of the triggers for ethylene production by plants?


  • How does the presence of ethylene affect fruit ripening?


  • What are the chemical and physical changes that occur as fruit ripens?


  • How can an iodiine stain be used to distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit?

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