The Fruit Ripening Process

The Fruit Ripening Process

Ripening is the process where fruits’ stages occur, in order to reach their natural composition cycle such as texture, color, flavor and decomposition. One of the important events that the ripening process has is the conversion of starch to sugar.  Even though, there are different technological methods to control or alter the fruit’s ripening process, my work is related to the natural ripening stages of fruits’ cycle system (http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/horticulture/fruit_ripening.pdf).

There are many changes such as chemical, biological, and physical alterations when the fruit ripens. The fruit starts having many variations from the bud stage, developing the ground system, dermal system, epidermal cells, periderm and the vascular system as well. Other characteristics associated with this complex development are the integration of the pigments and starches that are for stored purposes. One of the most important components is the parenchyma cell, which is composed of a number of carbohydrates, cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectic acid substances and the mitochondria. The mitochondria are responsible of the oxygen, respiration, and numerous biochemical reactions due to enzymes catalyzers (McWilliams, Margaret, Food Experimental Perspectives).

After all this structural evolution the fruit cycle begins the ripening process which starts its natural decomposition. First the outer layer or skin changes its color as chlorophyll then is broken down and new pigments are created and the acids or pectin (the sour component in the fruit) breaks as well. The starches are changed into sugar and the hard pectin is relaxed. Molecules start dissolving and getting smaller through evaporating changes. The fruit starts creating a particular aroma. Therefore, enzymes are responsible for this metamorphosis (.Jennifer Nemec, http://www.grit.com).

 The important key of the ripening process is the natural gas called ethylene (hydrocarbon gas) which is responsible for the ripening or maturation cycle. Ethylene is a proactive agent that activates the genes which interacts directly with the enzymes that cause fruits from ripening. The ethylene gas is created from roots, plants; flowers discomposed fruits, and broken tissue. Also it is important to know that the ripening process begins, once the fruit is picked it up from the green stage as well (Jennifer Nemec, http://www.grit.com).

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a particular oval fruit from the Caribbean zone. This specific fruit has different skin texture that varies by region, for example some of them either are quite harsh or sandpaper texture. When unripen, the rind is green and when it is maturing it consists of a variety of yellow colors, turning brown at the final stage. Breadfruit is born singly with a diameter average of 2’s at the branch tip. When green, the fruit is very hard and the interior is beige, starchy, dense, and fibrous. But when it is on the ripen stage, the fruit is on the contrary, soft and the interior becomes pasty with a sweet sugary fragrance. Other characteristics from the fruit and the tree are the richness of milk and the gummy latex texture this product from earth provide as well. The Breadfruit can be cooked in different ways such as, boiled, baked, grilled, and deep fried. When the fruit is cooked the aroma and flavor is similar to the bread.  The texture varies depending on the cooking method applied (Julia F. Morton, 1987, http://www.hort.purdue.edu).
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