Ethephon is a chemical sprayed to pineapples to induce / force reproductive development. Spraying it on green pineapples hasten their ripening time. A batch will ripen almost at the same time, perfect for competitive market demands.
Ethephon converts to ethylene after metabolism. Ethylene is a growth and ripening agent naturally produced by plants. It can be added externally to produced a more desirable effect.
Another way of pineapple induction is the use of calcium carbide (kalburo in tagalog). It is popular here in Philippines as ripening agent for mango and banana. The Central Region of Ghana is widely using it for induction of pineapples.
Calcium carbide reacts with moisture forming acetylene gas – this has the same effect as ethylene.
Residents were questioning the effects of calcium carbide on quality and shelf life of pineapples so a study was conducted. Here are the results:
1) Sensory analysis showed 88.9% consumer preference for chemically induced fruits. It is recommended to induce fruits for better saleability.
2) Chemically induced fruits have lower moisture content (84.3%) than the non-induced fruits (86.8%).
3) Total sugars, sucrose and reducing sugars were all higher in induced fruits than the non-induced fruits.Sweeter fruits are really proffered by buyers.
4) Chemical induced fruits have shorter shelf-life than non-induced fruits. Fruits treated with calcium carbide should be sold quicker. Long transport have the risk of fruit spoilage.
5) Fiber content is higher in induced pineapples. The enhanced natural ethylene production due to calcium carbide application is responsible for this result.
6) Induced fruits are more acidic but still fall within the range of 3.2-4.0 as specified by Morton (1987).
7) Induced fruits has more calcium content. Pineapples are able to absorbed the calcium component of fruit inducer.
Thanks to: Asare-Bediako, E., F.A. Showemimo, J.N. Buah and A.O. Ntow-Manu, 2007. Quality of pineapple fruits as influenced by floral
induction in Ghana. Am. J. Food Technol., 2: 100-103.