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Fruit Ripening

669 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability
Readily available
Very Low (under $20)
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: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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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)


  • 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.
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Global Connections

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
This project explores topics key to Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

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With a growing world population, making sure that there is enough food for everyone is critical. Plant scientists work to ensure that agricultural practices result in an abundance of nutritious food in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Read more
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As the world's population grows larger, it is important to improve the quality and yield of food crops and animal food sources. Agricultural technicians work in the forefront of this very important research area by helping scientists conduct novel experiments. If you would like to combine technology with the desire to see things grow, then read further to learn more about this exciting career. Read more

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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Fruit Ripening." Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/PlantBio_p021/plant-biology/fruit-ripening. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Fruit Ripening. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/PlantBio_p021/plant-biology/fruit-ripening

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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