noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A flammable hydrocarbon gas of the alkene series, occurring in natural gas, coal gas, and crude oil and given off by ripening fruit. It is used in chemical synthesis, especially in the manufacture of polythene.
- Alternative name: ethene; chemical formula: C2H4
- These observations confirm the importance of ethylene in initiating fruit ripening.
- It may be less well known that ethylene is also produced naturally by bacteria and fungi.
- The role of ethylene in fruit development and maturation has been intensively studied.
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