Definition of ethylene in US English:



  • 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 polyethylene.

    Alternative name: ethene; chemical formula: C₂H₄

    • ‘The role of ethylene in fruit development and maturation has been intensively studied.’
    • ‘It may be less well known that ethylene is also produced naturally by bacteria and fungi.’
    • ‘Different physiological stages of fruits were defined according to their ability to produce ethylene.’
    • ‘These observations confirm the importance of ethylene in initiating fruit ripening.’
    • ‘It has been demonstrated that ethylene is involved in this response.’
    • ‘The domestic demand for ethylene will also fall, which means the supply will be able to meet the demand.’