Why do tomatoes appear to ripen from the bottom up to the top?

by Dianne Filip
(Seattle WA)

A group of third grade students did an experiment with green unripe tomatoes. The experiment was organized to have three different environments to ripen the tomatoes.

At the end of summer most home gardeners have plenty of green tomatoes the goal of the experiment was to fined the best way to get the tomatoes to ripen. In doing this experiment the students noticed all the tomatoes seem to ripen from the bottom.

Below is a brief description of the different environments.

1) a brown paper bag and the tomato was wrapped in newspaper and the bag left inside the classroom.

2) a tomato was placed outside sitting a atop of a rain gutter. The tomato was not wrapped or contained in anything.

3) the third tomato was placed inside a container with two bananas. The container temperature remained constant and during the experiment. Because this tomato was in container no light entered environment.

Possible answer:

After a week and a half of being in these different environments the tomatoes all seemed to ripen from the bottom to the top. WHY? And had the tomatoes been left to ripen on the vine would they still have ripened from the bottom to the top? Does it have anything to do with gravity and the chemical change process? Or the density of the plant?

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