Ethylene is a hydrocarbon characterized by its formula; H2C=CH2. (C2H4). Like ethanol, it is a colorless, flammable gas and organic possessing both carbon and hydrogen atoms. It is also produced as a by-product of kerosene combustion. It is soluble in both ethanol and water. Ethylene is also a plant hormone, but unlike auxin and gibberellins, it is gaseous. This hormone is produced in ripening fruits, at the ends of stems, and in aging leaves/ flowers. Ethylene has been found to be produced in times of stress and drought, leading to apoptosis. The release of this gas also naturally promotes the ripening of the plants’ fruits. Ethylene has been used as far back as ancient Egypt were it was sprayed to ripen figs. It was first found to stunt growth and twist plants in 1864, where it was thought that the gas was emitted from the street lamps. It wasn’t until the 1930s when is was discovered that the gas was produced by plants and was a hormone responsible for the ripening. As shown in the picture, ethylene has ripened the banana slightly. Ethylene is made in a process in which ATP and H20 are added to methionine to synthesize 1-amino-cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase which is then converted into ACC. Oxygen then oxidizes ACC into the final compound, ethylene. Because this compound is a gas, ethylene emitted from one fruit will effect all other neighboring fruits causing them to ripen, or in another scenario, make them go bad. Finally I have finished the summer assignment! 🙂


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by | August 11, 2012 · 6:01 pm

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