?What is the plant hormone ethylene

The simple hydrocarbon ethylene (C2H4) is a tiny gaseous molecule of great significance. In addition to being the most widely produced organic compound in the world (used in manufacturing numerous products such as rubber, plastics, paints, detergents and toys), ethylene is a major hormone in plant biology. This volatile molecule mediates many complex aspects of plant growth, development and survival throughout the plant life cycle, including seed germination, root development, shoot and root growth, formation of adventitious roots, abscission of leaves and fruits, flowering, sex determination, and senescence of flowers and leaves [12]. Ethylene also mediates adaptive responses to a variety of stresses, such as drought, flooding, pathogen attack and high salinity. During flooding, for instance, ethylene induces the formation of aerenchyma tissue (consisting of air-filled cavities) for oxygenation. Ethylene is best known, however, for its essential role in the ripening of climacteric fruits, such as tomatoes, bananas, pears and apples. Placing a ripe banana in a paper bag containing unripe avocados, for instance, will hasten ripening of the avocados due to the accumulation of ethylene produced by the banana.

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