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Name:  Julie
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Question:
Im doing my science experiment to see if the processing of food produces gas. I was told that you do this by getting the vegitables, grounding them up, mixing them with vinegar and putting it in a test tube and then place a balloon over it to see if gas is produced. First I tried mixing the foods (Im using canned, frozen and fresh broccoli first to see if it works) with the vinegar and put it in a test tube and I placed a balloon over it but no gas was produced. I then tried it again in heat and again in the cold and it still wouldnt work. I tried the experiment again and pureed the broccoli and mixed it with the vinegar, put the balloon over it and still no gas was produced. What could I be doing wrong? Im using 5% acidity vineger because that's the only kind I could find. Do I need a stronger one? Where can I get a stronger one? How much vinegar should I be using? How much of the broccoli should I be using? Do I have to do something to the broccoli first? Please try to answer my questions I really need help.



Replies:
It doesn't seem that you are performing your experiment incorrectly. Your only difficulty appears to be that you find your result boring. You wanted to know if the processing of food produces gas. You chose to look at one particular type of processing of one particular type of food, namely adding vinegar to broccoli. (Making broccoli pickles, I guess.) You found (drum roll, please) that the process produced no detectable gas. So there's your answer - adding vinegar produces no gas, whether it's hot or cold, or whether the broccoli is fresh, frozen, or canned.

If you really want to make gas of some sort, add acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice) to baking soda, or add iron filings to hydrogen peroxide.

Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.



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