Harmless way to ripen Mangoes

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Dear friends,

Mangoes normally take 5 to 6 days to ripen under tropical conditions in the age-old practice of placing them in paddy straw in a closed room. Nowadays traders in order to sell even immature fruits are following an unhygienic method of using calcium carbide for quick ripening. This chemical emits a harmful Acetylene gas that is get absorbed by the fruits. The unsuspecting public is lured by the colour of the mangoes and upon consumption gets affected.

1. Ripening process for large quantity of Mangoes:

The Mango wholesalers can adopt the following harmless commercial method to ripen large quantity of mangoes. Take 5 litres of water in a wide mouthed vessel and mix 10 ml of ‘ETHREL’ ( Ethephon 39%) and 2 gms of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) pellets in it. Place the vessel near mangoes and seal the room tightly. Fruits will ripen in between 12 to 24 hours. About 75% of the space in the air tight room or chamber should be filled with fruits leaving the remaining area for air circulation. For reducing the cost, the farmers / traders can also keep banana, papaya etc; in the same room and reduce the dosage of the Ethrel, as ethylene that evolves from banana and papaya will also facilitate the ripening process.

Since ‘Ethrel’ is a plant harmone, using it for ripening process is accepted as organic practice. It releases ethylene gas on atmospheric exposure thereby hastening the ripening process of any fruits located in its vicinity. ‘ETHREL’ ( Ethephon 39%) can be purchased from any Agricultural pesticide dealer and Sodium Hydroxide pellets can be had from any Scientific / Industrial chemical suppliers.

2. A simple hygienic mango ripening method for the households:

The following mango ripening method is a very simple process that can be easily done in any household if the quantity is small say about 1 or 2 baskets:

Raw mangoes are dipped in
‘Ethrel’ 0.1% solution i.e 1ml of ripening solution diluted in 1 litre of water and wiped dry. Spread a newspaper and neatly place mangoes on it arranging in such a way so that the mangoes should not touch each other. Then cover the whole lot with a thin cotton cloth. The fruits will ripen in 2 days.

Vishnu Sankar


  • Good info for people having mango trees in their compounds and do not know how to ripen the mangoes.

  • good to know that a organic way to ripen fruits is easily available,this page should b pasted in local language near fruit sellers who r among the many people who ripen fruits with calcium carbide.

  • Brides and grooms

    Is there any way to ripen mangoes without using any chemicals?
    ETHREL’ ( Ethephon 39%) and 2 gms of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) pellets are not harmful? Is this chemical is better than carbide? Please inform.
    M. Firozama

  • Mr Vishnu Shankar,very useful info. the two chemicals you hv mentioned, will it be available for public without any restriction, will it be available with retail chemical stores. vksudar

  • Vishnu Sankar

    Ethrel is available in all Agri Ferti/Pesti Stores. Sodium Hydroxide can be had from Chemists/Lab Chemical dealers.

  • harsh vardhan Choudhary

    mr vishnu..i wanne ask you that in this above mention method for ripen mangos..whether the mangos are kept in boxes or openly .please reply as soon as possible.

  • Vishnu Sankar

    Dear Choudhary,
    Use adequate size Plywood or corrugated box if the quantity is small. You may require tightly closed room if the quantity is huge.

    You will learn by trial and error about the amount of ethrel required for a given qty of mangoes, time required and the size of room Etc.,
    It is very simple.

  • I want to do on commercial basis ie 10 tons of papaya/banana per day how to proceed and what are the technical parameters to be followed.

  • Sadh Shikaripura

    Approximately to ripen a ton of mangoes 20 ml ethrel and 2.5 g NaOH pellets are sufficient. One has to see that the crates filled with matured mangoes are kept in ripening chambers which are almost airtight.

  • Vishnu Sankar

    Refer the article in The Hindu Sci & Tech section titled "On the debate over Antibiotics in the chicken we eat": The article also explains the harmful effects of 'Artificial ripening of Mango' and 'Usage of Oxytocin on Milch animals'. The Link:

  • Kindly let me know how much Ethrel 39SL is to be dissolved in one litre of water to prepare 250ppm of Ethrel?

  • Vishnu Sankar

    1% - 1 gram dissolved in 100ml (made up to 100 ml)
    1ppm – 1 mg dissolved in 1 litre (made up to 1 lit.)

  • Amith Kulkarni

    I was suggested another method of ripening the mangoes when less quantity, take the Pressure Cooker, put the mangoes in it close the lid with gasket,and close the whistle and keep it air tight over night.and you will find the mangoes Ripe Organically, this is Respiratory method of ripening.. told by fruitscientist...

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