climacteric phasea stage preceding sensecence in certain fully grown fruits, in which there is a marked increase in respiration rate. Climacteric fruits (for example apples and bananas) can be prevented from undergoing this respiratory increase by treatment with high levels of carbon dioxide and/or exposure to low temperatures. Exposure to ethylene may then be used to hasten the climacteric phase, so that the fruit is ready for sale. Many fruits such as citrus types do not exhibit the climacteric phase.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005