Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bully redux

Pursuant to requests for further research and additional information (who knew the bully in the fruit bowl would provoke such a furor?), the facts have been checked and rechecked, the mysteries investigated and resolved, the onion peeled and the cucumber seeded (with a handy dandy cucumber deseeding gadget, no less - don't you just love internet solipsism?).

The Transport Information Site (you'd be surprised what you can learn there) has this to say about Allelopathy:

Allelopathy is understood to mean the influence exerted by vegetable products (fruits) on other plants or plants of the same species through the gases they give off...

For example, apples excrete large amounts of ethylene, which may cause potatoes to sprout prematurely. Cucumbers turn yellow on exposure to ethylene from apples or tomatoes. The reason for this is that the fruit and vegetable species produce different amounts of ethylene and exhibit different levels of sensitivity to other ethylene producers

Now, this begs the question - is the apple a bully or a wuss? As previously reported by yours truly, and according to the master scientists at Real Simple, we called the apple a wuss. Now it turns out that apples are that worst kind of wuss - the ones that let themselves get bullied (by bananas and tomatoes, for instance), but given the opportunity, will turn around and beat up on some poor, unsuspecting potato or carrot.

There is, however, an upside. Exploit the bully! Should you ever need a wimpy, green piece of fruit to ripen faster - well, then, by all means, put it in the bowl with a bully. Presto! Change-o! Ethylene gas emitted, ripening process hastened, edible fruit delivered.

And you thought life in a fish bowl was tough.

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