How do fruits ripen after having been picked and why is this ability useful?

274 views

How do fruits ripen after having been picked and why is this ability useful?

In: Biology

They’ll ripen whether they’re picked or not. When they’re ripe they fall and continue to decay. Ripening is essentially controlled decaying.

Only select fruits continue to due this once picked, so apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains and plums all get more ripe because they produce a certain chemical called ethylene that makes them get more ripe. Bananas actually release this gas too so fruit around them will ripen faster.

~~Ripening is the breakdown of cellulose within the fruit. Cellulose is a big structural carbohydrate complex that’s responsible for a lot of the rigidity of plants, so to make a fruit edible, the plant must destroy the cellulose. This also converts it into smaller carbohydrates (sugars) which is why ripe fruits tend to taste sweet.~~

Double checked, it’s the breakdown of pectin, not cellulose. Pectin is another structural molecule associated with cellulose, and the breakdown of starch grains within the cells into smaller sugars is where the sweetness comes from.

Plant cells are actually still alive even after you pick them, so they can continue doing this process. The ability to ripen after being picked doesn’t have to be evolved, because that’s what the plant will automatically keep on doing, since the cells aren’t dying.