Ethylene works as a gaseous "aging" hormone for many fruits.

There are lots of papers on ethylene receptor inhibitors (e.g. 1-MCP) to delay this process. I also found out that 1-MCP has been EPA-approved in 2002:

In 2002, 1-MCP was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in the U.S. as a tool for delaying ripening. The molecule has since been approved in 27 countries, including some in the European Union, for fruits as diverse as apples, kiwis, avocados, and persimmons. [...] Fruits are treated in an enclosed room for several hours, and the treatment blocks the receptor for up to 12 days. [...] The molecule has also been particularly successful in apples—in 2006, it received two gold medals from French apple industry trade groups. In bananas, however, this molecule's impact can sometimes be misleading [...]. 1-MCP may prevent banana skin from undergoing ripening-induced yellowing, but it doesn't always stop ripening of the fruit inside, possibly because it can't pass beyond the skin.

What I can't find out is how widespread such ethylene-inhibiting products are used in practice in the industry (of fruit packaging & shipping). Are there any statistics on this, even on small sub-sectors?


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