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Fruits Gone Bad? Discover Enzymatic Browning

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Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Key Concepts
Biochemistry, Enzymes, Food

Introduction

Have you ever wondered why apple slices turn brown once you cut them or why a yellow banana gets dark spots over time? Both of these phenomena have the same cause: enzymatic browning triggered by an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO). In this activity you will find out how this enzyme works by turning a banana from yellow to brown in just a matter of seconds. Then you will explore how you can keep your apple slices looking fresh!

Credits

Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Banana (yellow with no brown spots)
  • Stove
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Timer
  • Adult helper
  • Apple
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Lemon Juice
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Milk
  • Additional one to two bananas (optional)
  • Fridge (optional)
  • Tape (optional)
  • Other fruits and vegetables to test (optional)
    These are the materials needed for the enzymatic browning activity.

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Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Key Concepts
Biochemistry, Enzymes, Food