Ethylene is used commercially to hasten ripening of avocados, but the presence of ethylene in the storage atmosphere can increase the risk of physiological disorders. To investigate the short term effect of ethylene on avocado physiology, fruit were dipped in a low concentration ethephon solution. The ethephon treatment significantly increased the ethylene production rate of avocados after 6 h, compared to untreated fruit. After 6 h, the respiration rate of treated fruit increased significantly during the investigation while that of the untreated fruit did not show a significant increase from the initial measurement. Lipid peroxidation increased after dipping, reaching a peak after 4 h, and then declined to a level similar to untreated fruit. Mannoheptulose declined significantly during the 6 h investigation in both the untreated and treated fruit. It is concluded that avocado fruit can undergo significant physiological changes, and quality loss, in a short amount of time, which is exacerbated by exposure to ethylene.
Keywords: avocado ripening, ethylene, mannoheptulose, lipid peroxidation, postharvest management, fruit quality, avocado physiology, ethephon, physiological disorders, fruit ripening