AdelaideGladebrooke
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Measuring the ripenes of a banana

Postby AdelaideGladebrooke » Mon May 20, 2019 12:09 pm

Hi, my scientific question is 'how does the temperature affect the ripening process of a banana'.
In my experiment, I was going to place three bananas from the same bunch in separate containers and then place one container in a refrigerator, one on a table and the third near a heat source, so that the temperature would be more consistent.
I thought I could measure the ripening times through the colour but after handing this in, I have to make some changes on the way I am measuring the ripeness.
I was thinking about measuring the sugar content but I am not sure how to do that. I think I could use a refractometer. I could place the bananas in their places for three days and then measure them with a refractometer in the end.
i am also not sure about putting the bananas in a container to maintain the temperature.
I am not sure if this method can be done and I would really appreciate some advice. Thank you.

DrSullivan
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Re: Measuring the ripenes of a banana

Postby DrSullivan » Tue May 21, 2019 12:31 pm

Please see the following link. I believe it will answer your questions.

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... #materials

MS15
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Re: Measuring the ripenes of a banana

Postby MS15 » Fri May 24, 2019 8:09 am

Hello!

In addition to the project resource that DrSullivan pointed out, you may also find this recent thread helpful in planning your experiment:
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/ask-an-expert/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=20310

Regarding the measurement of sugar content, there are also relatively simple biochemical methods. One common example is the Benedict's test. However, this requires the use of acids and bases and also heating of solutions so it should only be performed in a supervised laboratory setting and NOT at home. Read more about the method here:
[url]
https://www.nku.edu/~whitsonma/Bio150LS ... Molec.html[/url]

If you have access to a refractometer, that would certainly be easier and safer.

Hope this helps,
MS

AdelaideGladebrooke
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Heat Source

Postby AdelaideGladebrooke » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:37 pm

My scientific question is 'how does the temperature affect the ripening process of a banana'. For my experiment, I said that I am placing three bananas from the same bunch in separate containers and then placing one container in a refrigerator, one on a table at room temperature and the third near a heat source for two days. My problem is that I don't have a heat source that I know of.

I don't have access to an incubator and the top of my refrigerator is not hot or does not give off heat. It is also currently winter where I live so there is not as much sun. I don't have a thermostat. Nobody I know has any of these. I do have a portable heater but I can't keep it on for that long. I would really appreciate some advice. Thank you.

SciB
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Re: Heat Source

Postby SciB » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:00 pm

Hi,

Temperature regulation is a common challenge in science. In our lab we have many temperature controlled devices and they cost thousands of dollars. But what can you do at home?

The first thing i would recommend is buying 4 or 5 inexpensive digital thermometers so at least you can monitor the temperatures accurately by using the same type of thermometer for each reading.

For the room temp experiment I would probably choose the kitchen because the heat from cooking usually keeps that area warmer than the rest of the house. But, use the thermometer to check the temp several times during the day. Remember that warm air rises so putting your container of bananas on an upper shelf of a cabinet might work best.

As for the warm temp, you can make a diy incubator by putting a small lamp with a 20-25W filament light bulb into a large cardboard or Styrofoam box. Stick a thermometer in it and check it every couple of hours for a day or so to see how steady the temp will be. I would think that you might want to try to maintain a temp of about 35-40C as 'warm'. There are many websites that show how to make incubators for eggs and chicks and you can surely find one of these plans to use:

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Simple-H ... for-Chicks
https://extension.illinois.edu/eggs/res ... bator.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ1tyfvenqQ

I hope this helps!

If you have questions just ask me and I will try to help.

Sybee

AdelaideGladebrooke
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Re: Heat Source

Postby AdelaideGladebrooke » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:56 pm

Hi, thank you very much for your reply. I will try making an incubator and will take your advice. Thank you so much for helping me!

MadelineB
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Re: Heat Source

Postby MadelineB » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:44 pm

Hello Adelaide,
I have merged your posts into one thread so the experts can keep track of your follow-up questions. The Ask the Expert Forums request that you please keep your posts together! Thank you.

AdelaideGladebrooke
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Re: Heat Source

Postby AdelaideGladebrooke » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:43 pm

For my experiment, I have measured the sugar content. My hypothesis was that higher temperature will allow bananas to ripen faster. After measuring the sugar content, I found that the sugar content in the bananas in higher temperature had less sugar content. I put all the bananas in a container and the banana in high temperature was in a homemade incubator.

I am supposed to explain why the higher temperature resulted in low sugar content. I have researched but I have not found an explanation. I think the sugar content breaks down but I am not entirely sure why the banana in high temperature had less sugar content.

And I will keep my posts together now, thank you for telling me :)

MS15
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Re: Heat Source

Postby MS15 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:39 am

Great job with completing the experiment! Let's see what a reasonable hypothesis can be for your observation.

First, it is unlikely that the sugars will break down simply due to the heat in your incubator, without any additional chemical reactions. This is particularly because your high temperature condition is not extremely high enough to break bonds.

The process by which simple sugars (monosachharides like glucose and fructose, and disachharides like sucrose) accumulate in fruits during ripening is by enzymatic breakdown of the complex carbohydrate, starch. A number of enzymes are involved in this multi-step pathway and all enzymes have optimal temperatures at which they work. I believe the high temperatures reduce the activity of these starch breakdown enzymes. On the other hand, the other aspect of fruit ripening involves changes to the tissue that bring about the softening and other textural changes. These are brought about by a different set of enzymes which could have different optimal temperatures to function. So at your high temperature condition, the fruit is softening just like ripening but maybe it is accumulating lesser simple sugars that you are detecting?

This is just an idea which you should use as a starting point for more research. Let me know if you find something that confirms this. I will see if i can find any suitable resources to support this idea or even debunk it.


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