In the realm of agriculture and food preservation, understanding ethylene gas and its effects on produce storage is crucial.

Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that plays a significant role in the ripening and senescence of fruits and vegetables.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of ethylene gas, its impact on produce, and best practices for managing ethylene to

prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

What is Ethylene Gas?

Ethylene is a simple hydrocarbon gas (C2H4) that occurs naturally in plants. It functions as a signaling molecule, regulating

various physiological processes such as fruit ripening, flower senescence, and leaf abscission. Ethylene production increases

during certain stages of plant development, particularly during fruit ripening, when it triggers the conversion of starches to sugars,

softening of the fruit, and changes in color and flavor.

The Role of Ethylene in Produce Storage

While ethylene is essential for the ripening of fruits and vegetables, it can also accelerate the deterioration of produce, leading

to premature spoilage and loss of quality. Ethylene sensitivity varies among different types of produce, with some fruits and

vegetables being more susceptible to its effects than others. For example, ethylene-producing fruits such as apples, bananas,

and tomatoes can induce ripening and senescence in ethylene-sensitive produce like leafy greens, cucumbers, and strawberries

when stored together.

Managing Ethylene Gas for Produce Storage

To optimize produce storage and minimize ethylene-related issues, consider implementing Airocide into your produce storage facility. 

Airocide® by Sterilumen™ provides green, safe, and energy efficient air purification that releases no harmful emissions, no chemicals,

and no ozone. Airocide’s patented Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) UV light technology completely traps and destroys airborne virus bacteria,

including COVID-19, mold, pathogens and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), like ethylene gas that cannot be caught by HEPA filters.


Ethylene gas plays a dual role in the ripening and deterioration of fruits and vegetables, making it a critical factor to consider in produce storage

management. Implementing Airocide® can prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, minimize food waste, and ensure the delivery of fresh,

high-quality produce to consumers. Effective ethylene management is key to optimizing the efficiency and sustainability of the agricultural supply

chain and meeting the demands of an ever-evolving market.