Calcium Carbide

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  • Topic: Fruit, Ethylene, Banana
  • Pages : 2 (724 words )
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  • Published : April 26, 2013
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Calcium Carbide
Calcium Carbide is a chemical compound containing calcium and carbide, with a chemical formula of CaC2. Pure Calcium Carbide is colorless, but some are black or grayish-white color, depending on the quality. Calcium Carbide is mostly used for the production of the flammable gas acetylene, which is similar to the natural hormone created my plants Ethylene. Ethylene is a hormone that is used by plants to ripen fruits. In Bangladesh and some parts of South-East Asia, Calcium Carbide is used as a ripening agent of certain fruits like mango, banana, pineapple, papaya, jackfruits, litchis, tomato, and many others more [Wikipedia]. In Bangladesh many fruits are picked prior to ripening, which is useful, because ripened fruits are not easy to ship, and do not have a long shelf life. For example, bananas are picked when green and artificially ripened after shipment, and then gassed with acetylene. A similar method used in Bangladesh and some parts of Asia. The method is to put a plastic cover over a bed of slightly green-harvested mangos, and a few small clumps of calcium carbide. The moisture in the air reacts with the calcium carbide to release the gas acetylene (ethylene), which has the same effect as ethylene. Ethylene is not emitted by the plant naturally, and cannot activate the ripening of nearby fruits; rather, it is used as a hormone within the plant [Ripe and Wrong-Online]. The practice of ripening fruits using calcium carbide is resorted to make a quick buck. As green mangoes are cheaper, certain traders buy them in bulk and get the fruits to ripen faster by placing calcium carbide along with them in the storeroom. The mangoes ripen within a day or two. The consumption of fruits ripened using calcium carbide can cause several problems. Acetylene is believed to affect the nervous system by reducing the oxygen supply to the brain. People who consume these fruits can develop abdominal pain. They may also suffer from gastric irritation,...
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