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Why do tomatoes turn green to red?

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skullcruncha | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 6, 2012 at 5:02 AM via web

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Why do tomatoes turn green to red?

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Ripening in fruits such as a tomato, allows them to taste better because the more ripe, the more sweet it will taste. Ripening in nature involves a gaseous plant hormone called ethylene. This chemical triggers the ripening process. Subjecting plants to wounding and high temperatures also triggers ethylene production. When ethylene is present, fruit ripening genes are triggered. These allow other genes to make pectinases to break down cell walls to soften fruit, amylases to produce more simple sugars from starch and hydrolases to degrade chlorophyll present in a green fruit. This results in a color change associated with ripened fruit. Sometimes, ripening is artificially triggered by gassing fruit with ethylene, using calcium carbide as a ripening agent, or by placing fruit in a bag, to trap ethylene to quicken the ripening process.

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soumilguitarknight | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 6, 2012 at 7:27 AM (Answer #2)

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Tomatoes are triggered to turn red by a chemical called ethylene. Ethylene is odorless, tasteless and invisible to the naked eye. When the tomato reaches the proper green mature stage, it starts to produce ethylene. The ethylene then interacts with the tomato fruit to start the ripening process. Consistent winds can carry the ethylene gas away from the fruit and slow the ripening process.

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