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Ethylene: Sources, Symptoms, and Prevention for Greenhouse Crops

By: Brian Whipker, Sylvia Blankenship, Mike Boyette, Tom Creswell, Mary Peet, James Gibson, Janet Miles Horticulture Information Leaflets

Ethylene is an odorless, colorless gas which acts as a plant hormone. Thus it can be a growth regulator or a harmful pollutant of horticultural crops. Major losses caused by the “death hormone” can occur with high value crops such as greenhouse-grown potted plants and cut flowers, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Economic losses to greenhouse growers from ethylene pollution are reported each year and many more probably occur, but are not correctly diagnosed. This leaflet discusses ethylene sources and symptoms of damage, and how to prevent them