Fall is the season for apples. We love picking them, purchase eating them and experimenting with them. Apple science experiments? Yes!
Apples are great for showing oxidation in action. You know, capsule when you slice apples into pieces and the cut sides turn brown? That browning effect is a chemical reaction called oxidation.
Oxidation in apples takes place when oxygen reacts with an enzyme called polyphenoloxidase. The visible result of this reaction is the brown color of the apple. This reaction is similar to what happens to metal when it rusts. Oxygen is reacting to chemicals in the metal causing it to break down into rust.
Oxidation happens in our bodies, here as well. Oxidating substances in our bodies can cause cancer, skin wrinkles and other negative effects. Chemicals called antioxidants can prevent oxidation reactions. We’ll see how in this experiment.
Cut an apple in half.
Crush 2-3 vitamin c tablets into powder. Sprinkle the powder on one of the apple halves. Leave both apples on the counter or table for several hours. Then, observe the appearance of the apples.
The untouched apple has been oxidized. It is turning brown. The apple with the Vitamin C (an antioxidant) has only mild oxidation. You can see how antioxidants can prevent oxidation.
Can you see how taking antioxidants might help in the fight against oxidation in our bodies? Try this experiment at home!