Science project

Ripening Fruit

  1. To create a list of fruits that continue to ripen after picking.     
  2. To learn why some fruits ripen after picking while others don't.      

Research Questions:     

  • Why do fruits change color as they ripen?     
  • What causes certain fruits to continue ripening after being picked?     
  • How can this information lead to technological improvements?   

Ripening is the process by which fruits become tastier. Ripening softens and sweetens the fruit to make it more palatable. Some fruits continue ripening after being picked, while other fruits do not. This project examines the reasons and applications for the ripening of fruits.


  • Computer with Internet access     
  • Color printer     
  • Digital camera     
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)     
  • Fresh fruits that ripen after picking such as apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains or plums)     
  • Fruits picked ready-to-eat such as apples, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, tangerines or watermelon.

All necessary materials can be found in or around your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure:     

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)     
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.     
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.     
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.     
  5. Follow the stages of fruits as they ripen, on and off the tree.     
  6. Carefully record all observations.     
  7. Analyze your data.     
  8. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.     
  9. Include interesting photos, diagrams and fruit arrangements in your science fair display.  

Terms/Concepts: Calcium carbide; Climacteric; Ethylene gas; Iodine; SmartFresh Technology


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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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