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Respiration Changes During Fruit Ripening and Storage

This practical activity, from Science & Plants for Schools (SAPS), investigates the process of respiration. Suggestions are given for looking at different fruits or vegetables and measuring the respiratory rate during the ripening process.

Possible investigations include:
• Does the rate of respiration vary during the ripening process?
• Does the temperature of storage affect the rate of respiration?
• Does the skin affect the exchange of gases between a fruit or vegetable and the atmosphere?
• Does an infected fruit or vegetable have a higher respiratory rate than a healthy one?

Methods are given for observing respiratory rates in tissues, using tetrazolium chloride (TTC), which produces a red colour in respiring tissues. A second method uses a titration following absorption of carbon dioxide by barium hydroxide solution.

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