Fruit Ripening *
AbstractFruit 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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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- 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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