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Ethylene gas and bananas

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:57 pm
by em1ly
I am doing my science fair project and I need to measure the amount of ethylene gas bananas produce. I have been researching and I know that a gas chromatography set can be used to measure ethylene gas but they are really expensive and too complicated for what I am doing. I was wondering if there are any easy ways to simply get a recording of the amount of ethylene gas there is in a box that contains a banana???
Please help me because If there is no easy way to measure the ethylene gas than I might have to re-think my whole assignment and I don't have much time left.
Thank you

Re: Ethylene gas and bananas

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:45 am
by HowardE
I've had to find inexpensive ways of measuring other gases in the past and I know how expensive this generally is. I looked in one of the forums I follow and saw exactly what you said - measuring ethylene accurately requires gas chromatography and isn't going to be cheap. However, someone put in a plug for their company and suggested ... tubes.html as an inexpensive solution. They're sealed tubes that have a reagent in them that will react to the ethylene. The link in the store offers them up for $73 for a box of 10 which might still be too pricy for you and you likely need some piece of apparatus to employ them.

You might be able to get a solution and improve your schmoozing skills at the same time by contacting the company, explaining who you are and what you're doing. If I were a company that made accessible gas detection stuff, I'd want upcoming science kids to be aware of it. They might be convinced to give you a tube or two and loan you some demo equipment to do the sampling. If they have a PR or media office, check with your parents & teachers first, but give them a call and be convincing. You just might get a solution in exchange for putting a 'thank you' note on your display.

It's worth a shot, anyway. Otherwise I don't see that the internet is offering up any suggestions other than what you already know.


Re: Ethylene gas and bananas

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:06 am
by HowardE
A little more information on those tubes. The company, Gastec, is in Japan. They have tubes for all sorts of gases, of course, and their website has a page of experiments for kids using their products - so they clearly are interested in applications like yours (

It looks like a a kit with the sampling pump is available at Ward's but you still need the ethylene tubes. I'd still suggest contacting a distributor and seeing what yo can talk them out of. You may also be able to make your own sampling pump out of a syringe if no one will let you use one for your tests.

Re: Ethylene gas and bananas

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:45 pm
by em1ly
Thank you so much, this was really helpful.
I'll see how I go!