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Fruit Ripening *

Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Do not eat any fruit to which you have added chemicals. Use caution when using sharp knives or other kitchen equipment; adult supervision is recommended.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Fruit is a strategy some plants use to attract animals to disperse seeds. The animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds through the digestive system. To attract animals, fruit needs to ripen and develop an odor that acts as an attractant. How much more successful are ripe fruits at attracting animals? Try setting out an over and under ripe piece of fruit, and compare how many many insects are attracted to each fruit. How does ripening occur? You can do an experiment using a very ripe banana to see how ethylene can speed the ripening of other types of green, unripe fruit (Science Buddies, One Bad Apple Spoils the Whole Bunch: An Experiment on the Plant Hormone Ethylene ). What physiological changes accompany fruit ripening? You can do a taste test of ripe and unripe fruit to assay the sweetness of the fruit. You can also see that as a fruit ripens, it turns brown when exposed to oxygen. This is because of oxidation that occurs on the surface of the fruit. But when we buy fruit products, we don't like them to be brown and yucky. This is why some foods contain preservatives. How do preservatives work? Which types of chemicals act as preservatives? You can use slices of apple or banana to test different chemicals for preservative properties. Try ground up vitamin C tablets, vinegar, lemon juice, vitamin E oil, salt or sugar. Which chemicals will keep the fruit from turning brown? (Cobb, 1979, 69-73; Vecchione, 2001, 162-163)

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Fruit Ripening" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 27 June 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/PlantBio_p021.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 27). Fruit Ripening. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/PlantBio_p021.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-27


  • Cobb, V. 1979. More Science Experiments You Can Eat. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Vecchione, G. 2001. 100 Award-Winning Science Fair Projects. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing.

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

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