Why shouldn’t you store bananas with other fruit?

Image by Vlad Vulturar from Pixabay

Question from Joan Rowland

As they ripen, bananas release a gas called ethene, also known as ethylene, which is a natural plant hormone. It causes ripening by breaking down cell walls, converting starches to sugars and reducing the fruit’s acidity. Some other fruits, including apples and pears, also give off and are susceptible to the effects of ethene, so storing them together can speed up ripening, causing the fruit to turn soft and brown more quickly. However, some fruits, including oranges, lemons and many berries, do not give off or respond to ethene so will not ripen prematurely when stored near other fruit.

Answered by Jo Stass for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 110.

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