Climate-ABC: Climacteric Fruits

Fruits that continue to ripen after harvesting are called climacteric fruits. A distinction is made between ripeness for picking and ripeness for consumption.

Whether a fruit is able to ripen depends on the time of harvest and on the respiration behavior of the certain fruit, which means the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. If the minimum ripeness of the fruit is reached and the CO2 emission increases afterwards, the fruit continues to ripen even after harvesting. This stage is called the climacteric. The duration from picking ripeness to ripeness for consumption varies and can be influenced by external conditions such as light, temperature and storage. Bananas, for example, belong to the group of climacteric fruits: It is therefore possible to offer a South American banana in the German supermarket with pinpoint accuracy and even still unripe (for consumption). If climacteric fruits such as apples and bananas are stored next to each other, the ripening process is clearly stimulated by both. Non-climacteric fruits, on the other hand, will never ripen, but remain in the same state of ripeness until they spoil.