Have you seen the Sponsor Prizes on offer from our new Gold Sponsor: Wine Australia?
They will be awarding prizes in R-4, 5-8 and 9-12 for the most outstanding entries, from either Posters or Scientific Inquiry, that highlight food chemistry.
If you're planning to submit a Poster entry, you could focus on either 'The Chemistry of Life' or 'Contemporary People of Science'.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about food chemistry for your Scientific Inquiry project:
- The psychology of flavour. Primary school students could test whether people think foods taste a particular way because of colour. Food dye in lemonade or cupcakes is an easy way to achieve this. Another is to learn to describe different tastes - sweet, sour, bitter and salty (umami!); experiment using sugar, lemon juice and strong black or green tea as well as vegemite.
- Set up a simple experiment of putting grapes (and other fruits) in storage options to see which forms moulds or stays fresh.
- Encourage experimenting with food colouring from the food itself. For example red grape with skin off is a white grape (most often) so what does this do to the colour of the juice. What if you get pea flower and put it in water- it’s blue, then add yellow lemon, what do you expect (green), vs what do you get (purple!) Natures pH indicators.
- Experiment with changing the degree of maceration with grape skins - to stimulate white, rose and red colours (with increasing time of skin contact or increased ‘blending’ of the skin). Maceration is a process where the phenolic materials of the grape—tannins, colouring agents and flavour compounds—are leached from the grape skins.
- Students measure the sugar content of grapes to determine ripeness, and explore how technology is used. Use a refractometer to measure the sugar content of different grapes to determine the best time to harvest. Record and compare Brix°. Discuss why this technology is important for grape harvest. Discuss the technology of grape harvesting including the increased use of machinery and mechanised methods
- Students understand the process of fermentation noting the role of yeast (or other microbiology), and grapes (as the sugar). Mix active yeast with warm grape juice. Observe the mixture foaming which is a sign that the microbes (yeast) are feeding on the sugar in the grape juice and producing carbon dioxide. Complete the experiment in a bottle, add a balloon over the cap and watch the balloon inflate.
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