Recent work in our laboratory has shown that pre- and postharvest applications of lysophosphotidylethanolamine (LPE) retard senescence processes in several fruit and flower species (apple, tomato, carnation). Banana was selected to develop a rapid bioassay to test the effects of LPE and other substances on various processes associated with senescence. Excised peel pieces from fully yellow `Grand Nain' bananas (Musa AAA) were incubated in petri dishes containing LPE solution (0, 25, 50, and 100 ppm) for 4 days. Fresh weight and ethylene production was measured daily. At the end of the experiment, tissue density, ion leakage, and soluble protein leakage was measured. Ion and soluble protein leakage was significantly lowered with 100 LPE. The 100 ppm LPE also significantly inhibited ethylene production after only 2 hours of treatment and this low level was maintained during the experiment. Peel tissue from the 100 ppm LPE remained firm and intact while tissue from the other treatments expanded and lost integrity. By day 2, peel from the 0, 25, and 50 ppm LPE gained significantly in fresh weight, while tissue treated with 100 ppm initially lost and then only slightly gained in fresh weight. Our results suggest that LPE is able to protect membrane function in senescence. Furthermore, these results provide evidence that LPE may also be retarding senescence by modulating the ethylene pathway.