Ethylene (C2H4) is a gaseous hormone able to exert effects on plant development and physiology. It regulates several plant processes, among which germination of seeds, cell expansion, abscission of leaves and petals, fruit ripening, senescence of organs, and responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. The effect of ethylene on fruit ripening and plant senescence is of great interest, given the importance of fruit and vegetables as key components of the human diet. It can be involved in the modulation of fruits and vegetables’ nutritional properties, influencing the contents of carbohydrates, organic acids, fibers, vitamins, lipids, and minerals that are essential for human health. It is able to elicit important changes in plants’ metabolism from vegetative to a reproductive stage requiring synergistic or antagonist interplays with other phytohormones and transcription factors. In fact, the changes in its levels, perception and crosstalk with other regulators of plant metabolism are pivotal for regulating the complex network of primary and secondary metabolism in plants. It plays also a key role in plant crops’ adaptation to different stress conditions. Therefore, ethylene modulation of growth, yield and longevity is essential throughout the entire life of the plants.
Fusco Giovanna Marta
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