Ethylene is not one of the most well-known chemical elements for the average citizen, but the truth is that it has always been essential in such important sectors as, for example, the chemical industry, as a raw material in various chemical syntheses such as polyethylene; that of glass, essential in the production of windows and other car glass; that of metal, as an oxidizing gas for welding, cutting metals or spraying at high speed, or that of refrigeration, where the substance is essential for the optimal functioning of LNG liquefaction plants. And what about food and drink?
Also, of course. It is the sector that best benefits and yields ethylene. There are so many applications that it covers, that to analyze in detail its wide presence in the primary sector around the world, its use must be divided into two large categories:
Ethylene application after fruit harvest
The classic is the lemon, but there are more: oranges, pink grapefruit, tangerines… This large group of fruits can quickly be degreened if exposed to the right amount of ethylene for, at most, three days. To determine how much gas of this molecule is needed we need to consider conditions such as tightness and the exact dimensions of the chamber for degreening.
Avocados, bananas, mangos, papayas… There are many tropical fruits in which ethylene helps improve their flavor, texture or quality, also, right after harvest. And if while reading this you think about the possibility that the fruit could be contaminated after this process, you just have to know that the United States’ National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the world’s most recognized and prestigious institution on these matters that currently exists, supports and guarantees the safety and health in the consumption of these tropical fruits as well as in that of citrus fruits that have been degreened using the same technique.
Tobacco cured using ethylene generators offers fewer green tones as well as other unusual ones. In addition to allowing a more attractive aesthetic, what this prodigious gas does is reduce the curing time by up to 30 hours, with all the benefits that this entails for the production process.
Fruits also according to Botany, although we never eat them as dessert or part of it. Here, ethylene gas performs a fundamental function during the final phases of post-harvest, before being distributed: as it is a natural plant hormone that favors the development, maturation, and senescence of any plant, it allows the tomato to quickly turn green ripe or red without wasting a single unit during the quick process.
Ethylene application during fruit harvest
We continue with the tomato, but this time with the one that is grown outside of its natural season, which is fundamentally during the central months of summer. The doses of ethylene in the form of gas to which they are exposed inside the greenhouses optimize and standardize the maturation process of the entire production. In addition to improving the flavor and final color of the tomatoes for proper marketing and sale in stores, these advantages are also achieved:
The farmer in question, in addition to launching an attractive and very competitive food product on the current market, also achieves an excellent ratio of zero losses suffered and saves costs on energy and tools used during the production cycle.
If you work in agriculture, or in any of the industries mentioned at the beginning, and you need to partner with a company specialized in the packaging of this gas that supplies it to you in a timely manner at reasonable rates, always opt for businesses like Gases GRIT: They provide official certificates that corroborate their extensive experience in this very specific sector, as well as formal accreditations that approve their demanding safety protocols during the delicate storage, transport and supply of gases classified as dangerous by the authorities, such as ethylene. Find your trusted provider.
■ Communication Team