The Dangers of Induced Ripening of Fruits

in Proof of Brain2 years ago

Buying farm produces off the market seems normal and safe until fruits and certain vegetables are involved. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that buying fruits off the market is an unsafe practice, but one needs to be watchful of the kind of fruits they buy to safeguard their health. Now, some might say it is normal for one to examine the fruits they are buying for damages or infection by pathogens. While this might be true, it is not just enough. One needs to establish that the fruits they are purchasing have not been artificially stimulated to ripen.

Although not all fruits require that they are ripe before they can be consumed, those that are allowed to ripe naturally taste better and sweeter when compared to their unripe versions. However, while ripe fruits might appear more delicious, those that are forced to ripe might have severe health implications on their consumers depending on the method used in inducing the metabolic process.


Naturally ripened plantain. Image by gentleshaid

Distinguishing between fruits that ripened naturally and the ones that have been induced requires very little to no effort. The ripening process changes the colour of fruits. Those that do so naturally will appear ununiform in their appearance while those that have been induced to ripe will have uniform colour that seems appealing to the eyes. Not all that glitters is gold, right?

For those whose olfactory system still functions effectively, artificially ripened fruits also produced less desirable flavours than their naturally ripened counterparts. When it also comes to storage, the latter has a longer shelf life than the former.

The Ripening Process

The ripening of fruits is a part of the natural developmental process associated with all living organisms. After fruits have been formed from the ovary post-fertilization, they continue to develop and change both morphologically and physiologically. At some point, the ripening process is triggered by the production of one of the plant hormones - ethylene.

The genes responsible for ripening is switched on by the hormone, leading to the decomposition of the chlorophyll content responsible for the green appearance of many fruits and replacement with other compounds that give the ripening fruits their characteristic colours.

The manipulation

Because the hormone responsible for triggering the ripening process is gaseous in nature, humans have learned the art of manipulating it to suit their needs as far as ripening is concerned. Yet to ripe fruits can be artificially exposed to ethylene to speed up the ripening process while the natural process of ripening can also be slowed by artificially limiting ethylene production in yet to ripe fruits.

The latter is achievable by reducing the ambient temperature of yet to ripe fruits, thereby slowing down their natural metabolic processes, including ethylene production. This method is often used in agriculture to store or transport fruits and vegetables over long distances.

It is a normal practice around here for fruit vendors to cover up yet to ripe fruits in order to hasten the ripening process. This will ensure that fruits that are not producing enough ethylene to trigger the ripening process get exposed to the ethylene produced by those that are already ripening. Often, the result is the uniform ripening of all the covered fruits. Works like magic!

Fruits that are matured before being harvested will ripen naturally, covered or not. Covering them up will just hasten the process and ensure that everyone ripens at the same time. Unmature fruits will also ripen but usually take a far longer time than matured fruits. Lack of maturity is what makes some vendors artificially introduce ethylene to fruits.

One of the locally available substances that serve as an ethylene source for fruit vendors is calcium carbide. Welding technicians primarily make use of the chemical to generate acetylene (ethylene) gas for welding/cutting in combination with oxygen (oxy-acetylene flame). Calcium carbide is usually in friable solid form and releases ethylene gas once dissolved in water.

The calcium carbide residue from welding houses is what fruit vendors make use of. They wrap unripe fruits in multiple nylon or clothing materials along with the residual calcium carbide and the little ethylene left in the residue ends up hastening the ripening of the fruits.


Indutrial grade calcium carbide. By Leiem - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The problem

Apart from the fact that fruits artificially induced fruits do not taste as great as those that ripen naturally, inducing fruits to ripe using calcium carbide can pose several problems to the health of humans.

  • Calcium carbide has been researched and reported to be capable of breaking down vitamins and other essential nutrients in fruits. This makes artificially ripened fruits using calcium carbide less nutritious than their naturally ripened counterparts.
  • Calcium carbide has been found to usually contain a trace amount of arsenic and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can cause humans all sorts of health problems when they find their way into the body system.
    _ The chemical itself has been reported to cause neurological disorders when consumed in minute amounts.

Final Words

Many of the ripen fruits being sold in the market may have been artificially induced to ripe using calcium carbide or other relevant chemicals. The use of these chemicals to hasten the ripening process reduces the organoleptic quality. In addition, the chemicals themselves can be toxic or contain substances that may be toxic, causing a wide variety of health issues for whosoever consumes them.

Apart from the health-related issues that one can incur by consuming fruits that have been induced to ripen, the fruits themselves usually have low shelf lives when compared to those that ripen naturally. Hence, it also sometimes makes economic sense to go for naturally ripen fruits over their induced counterparts.

Fruit consumers should be able to distinguish between fruits that ripen naturally and those they have been induced to do so. Naturally ripen fruits hardly have uniform colours. In other words, unripe patches can be found on the skins of the fruits. Those that have been induced usually have uniform colours that seem aesthetically pleasing at first. By being able to distinguish between the two, one may not be only saving himself/herself from health-related issues but some costs as well.

Thank you all for reading.


Posted via


People can go at any length to acquire money. indeed it is saddened that this is also happening in food sector.

You'll be surprised to see worse. They happen

You are right but the truth especially buying fruit in Nigeria. Most of the fruit consumed are forced to get ripe at all cost with the use of Chemical. I am not saying all the fruit as well. But the truth is that it is better one get a farm produces directly from a rrliable source than eating fruit like this

I agree. It is better to get them directly from the farmers. Vendors do all sorts of things to fruits without considering their implications on those that will consume them.

I agree with you everything edible should be allowed to grow naturally to its maturity state.

A lot of health problems begins with use of artifical and an unhealthy diets.

I have noticed even the organic chicken eggs have different taste and are better Than from non-organic.

Posted using Dapplr

Even, naturally grown crops have better tastes when compared to those grown with synthetic fertilizers. Nature wins it all.

Posted via

@gentleshaid I really didn't know this. But I know many people that cover up their fruits because they want them to ripen quickly. I will definitely tell them about this. Thank you for sharing this info.🌻

Covering the fruits up without any chemicals should not pose any harm as far as I know. The problem is when chemicals or artificial ripeners are involved.

Posted via

I'm not sure if they use chemicals or artificial ripeners out here to be honest. And they'll probably hide it if they do.😫

There sure are a whole lot of different shady practices used around the world in every industry. I’m not sure what your imagine of the USA is but pharmaceutical companies seem to have been caught pushing extremely addicted drugs to people with anxiety and other issues. It was a massively underreported scandal.

The continuous struggle to amass profit will make some humans do anything. It is not peculiar to the US only, trust me. It is virtually everywhere in the world.

Posted via

Of course! I know it's even worse in a lot of places. I just bring it up because I'm not sure if people realize the US is also like this. It's interesting how it takes different forms everywhere, like if there are regulations, it gets obscured behind bureaucracy and people barely notice it, but it doesn't go away.

Nah, it doesn't go away. It rather evolves. As long as humans keep being greedy

Posted via

Good share of information. We should all take more responsibility for what we put into our bodies.

Posted via

Indeed. Many of the health issues we suffer has to do with what we feed our bodies with.

Posted via

Back in school, we tested the effect of calcium carbide on fruit ripening and there wasn't a lot of difference as regards the nutritional content.

Well, one cannot rule out conflicting reports in science. Has that work been published? I would like to read it.

It was my final year project work. Lost the file.

The result was strange but that's what we got. I guess maybe there has to be direct contact with the carbide to have a noticeable difference from naturally ripened fruits.

That's one way to look at it. There might be other reasons like the kind of statistical analysis your data were subjected to, confirmation bias, etc.

Posted via

Half the things we put in our body these days are induced to mature and ripen artificially. And even though I knew this, I didn’t know how to spot them. My taste doesn’t really do the trick cos I wouldn’t know the difference since I don’t already know which taste is for artificially induced and which is naturally ripe. This was informative. Thanks

For fruits that change colour when ripen, I left a tip on how to discern between natural and induced ripening. For those that do not change colour, the lord is our strength bro.

Posted via

Thank you for sharing this information, @gentleshaid. To be honest, it is the first time hearing that people are forcefully ripening fruits with chemical. As you have emphasized, the chemicals can be toxic. For someone who bought ripen fruits for baked goodies, the key points in spotting them is essential. In the Philippines, I never heard or encountered people that intentionally ripening the fruits. Enjoy some !PIZZA

Maybe if you are close to the fruit vendors enough, you will know some of the practices they indulge in just to game the natural metabolic process of fruits. I would not have known that something like this exists had it being that I did not grow up in a semi-urban area.

Posted via

Vendors must be keeping it as their best keep trade secret. Maybe, I must be vigilant buying ripe fruits then. Again, thanks for the info, @gentleshaid!



@gentleshaid! I sent you a slice of $PIZZA on behalf of @juecoree.

Learn more about $PIZZA Token at (4/10)

Thank you for the world of advice, noted.

Posted via

You are welcome

Posted via

hello dear friend @gentleshaid good day
Excellent post. Very practical and very useful, it does not know the practical way to differentiate the different types of maturation. I appreciate you sharing this technique and all the information
Have a nice day

Hello @gentleshaid , in my country we call bananas "cambur". I heard that the word comes from "carbide", because bananas are artificially matured with that chemical in order to be able to sell them quickly. I thought it was a lie or an exaggeration. Now I now is a reality. Thanks for sharing.

The rewards earned on this comment will go directly to the person sharing the post on Twitter as long as they are registered with @poshtoken. Sign up at

Thanks for your contribution to the STEMsocial community. Feel free to join us on discord to get to know the rest of us!

Please consider supporting our funding proposal, approving our witness (@stem.witness) or delegating to the @stemsocial account (for some ROI).

Please consider using the STEMsocial app app and including @stemsocial as a beneficiary to get a stronger support. 

Your content has been voted as a part of Encouragement program. Keep up the good work!

Use Ecency daily to boost your growth on platform!

Support Ecency
Vote for Proposal
Delegate HP and earn more