Climacteric (biology)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


In current practice, climacteric is most often a synonym for female menopause. However, in Princeton University's online dictionary, Climacteric is defined as: [1]

1. (n) climacteric (a period in a man's life corresponding to menopause)

2. (n) menopause, climacteric, change of life (the time in a woman's life in which the menstrual cycle ends)

The term is used for both genders by The International Menopause Society, which defines itself as "The society for the study of all aspects of the climacteric in men and women."

In botany

The climacteric is a stage of fruit ripening associated with ethylene production and cell respiration rise.[2] Apples, melons, apricots, tomatoes (among others) are climacteric fruit. Citrus, grapes, strawberries are non-climacteric (they ripen without ethylene and respiration bursts). However, there are non-climacteric melons and apricots, and grapes and strawberries harbour several ethylene receptors which are active. Climacteric is the final physiological process that marks the end of fruit maturation and the beginning of fruit senescence. Its defining point is the sudden rise in respiration of the fruit and normally takes place without any external influences. After the climacteric period respiration rates (noted by carbon dioxide production) return to or below the point before the event. The climacteric event also leads to other changes in the fruit including pigment changes and sugar release. For those fruits raised as food the climacteric event marks the peak of edible ripeness, with fruits having the best taste and texture for consumption. After the event fruits are more susceptible to fungal invasion and begin to degrade with cell death.


  1. "WordNet Search - 3.0".
  2. "climacteric". Dictionary of Biology.

External links

de:Klimakterium (Botanik)