Ethylene, or Ethene (C2H4) is a natural plant hormone that plays a crucial role in the initiation of ripening and flowering of many plants. But, high ethylene levels accelerate the ripening process in fruits, leading to premature softening and colour changes. It also promotes ageing and can negatively impact flowering, causing early bloom termination.

Thus, controlling ethylene levels is necessary to regulate fruit ripening, prevent premature ageing, and reduce post-harvest losses. It allows for better agricultural practices and improved management of perishable goods.


Ethylene is a colourless gas, sweeter in taste and smell. This flammable gas is lighter than air. It plays a crucial role in various aspects of plant growth, development, and responses to environmental stimuli. While ethylene is essential for normal plant physiology, controlling its level becomes necessary in many situations to ensure optimal growth and prevent detrimental effects.

High Ethylene Impacts on Fruits and Vegetables

High ethylene levels can have a significant impact on the ripening and quality of fruits and vegetables. When ethylene levels become too high, it can lead to premature ripening, over-ripening, and decay. Storing and Maintaining the fruits under appropriate conditions would also impact their quality and texture.

Image: Impact of Ethylene Outburst on Banana and Apple

(Source: Springer

For example, storing ethylene-producing fruits like apples or tomatoes with ethylene-sensitive produce such as lettuce or cucumbers can result in accelerated decay and loss of its freshness.

Proper management of ethylene levels is crucial for maintaining the quality and shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Image: Impact of High Ethylene on Different Fruits and Vegetables

Did You Know the Impact of High Exposure to Ethylene on Human Health?

High exposure to ethylene in laboratories or workplaces is considered hazardous for human health. It can cause acute health effects such as unconsciousness, confusion, lightheadedness, fatigue, dizziness, and headache.

(Source: New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services )

Thus engineering controls are the most effective and efficient way to reduce the level of ethylene in any workplace.

Key Areas Where Ethylene Control is Crucial

Controlling ethylene levels is essential in various settings where the presence of ethylene can impact the quality, shelf life, and overall well-being of plants and produce. Here are several key areas where ethylene control is crucial:

Food Storage and Warehousing

Ethylene can affect the post-harvest life of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. To prevent premature ripening and decay during storage, it is essential to control ethylene levels in warehouses and cold storage facilities. Proper ventilation, ethylene scrubbing, and separation of ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive produce are commonly employed strategies.

Supermarkets and Retail Stores

Controlling ethylene in supermarkets and retail stores is vital to ensure the freshness and longevity of perishable items. Ethylene emitted by fruits and vegetables can accelerate the ripening and spoilage of nearby produce or reduce shelf-life.

Transportation and Shipping

During transportation and shipping of produce, ethylene can accumulate in confined spaces, leading to faster ripening and deterioration. Ethylene control measures, such as ethylene scrubbers or specialised containers, are employed to minimise ethylene exposure and maintain the quality of the transported goods.

Food Processing Facilities

In food processing facilities, ethylene control is important to prevent unwanted ripening or spoilage of raw materials. Ethylene management systems are implemented to maintain the freshness and quality of ingredients, reducing waste and ensuring optimal processing conditions.


In workstations, high ethylene levels reduce the amount of available oxygen. Low levels of oxygen impact the health and productivity of the workforce. Engineering control systems to reduce the level of ethylene is essential to ensure safe work practices.

By implementing ethylene control measures in these various settings, we can mitigate the negative effects of ethylene.

Bry-Air Ethylene Scrubber Ultimate Solution to Eliminate Ethylene

Bry-Air Ethylene Scrubber has emerged as an indispensable solution for fruit and vegetable preservation, effectively reducing and controlling ethylene outbursts. It increases shelf life, enhances quality, and improves overall storage conditions. By implementing this advanced technology, food industry stakeholders can optimise their operations, reduce waste, and meet consumer demands with superior product quality, ultimately resulting in increased profitability and sustainable business growth.


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