Fruit ripening is largely caused by a plant hormone called ethylene, which is a gas. Most fruits give off ethylene in ever increasing quantities as they ripen.
Temperature is a key determinant of chemical reaction rates and therefore, produce (fruits and vegetables) metabolic rates. Ethylene production increases as temperature rises. Ripening for most fruit is best at or slightly above room temperature, (68 - 70F). Low temperature can inactivate essential enzymes required for full ripening. The fruit may not complete the ripening processes, and/or achieve full flavor.
When detached from the growing plant fresh produce continues to transpire and lose water, therefore it is very important to maintain high relative humidity (85% RH) in the storage atmosphere.
Put fruits that emit a high concentration of ethylene such as apples, pears, bananas, avocados and passion fruit in a paper bag with slower ripening fruit, then inside a plastic bag to contain more of the ethylene gas.
Key variables affecting the storage life and eating quality of fruit and vegetables:
1. •time from harvest
3. •relative humidity
4. •atmosphere composition
6. •pest and disease
7. •pre- and postharvest treatments