Kitchen Chemistry: Rot

Why does some food go off?


RotLeave it long enough and all food will spoil – or rot.

And do you know what’s behind this change? Chemistry!

If your bananas have gone soft, that’s because of a chemical reaction going on inside. It’s the same reaction that helped the banana to ripen, but eventually your ‘nana will go black and squidgy. Eww!

AppleSometimes the change is caused by chemicals around the food – when oxygen combines with some enzymes in fruit, it can make the fruit turn brown. When you cut an apple, you can watch the chemical reaction happen for yourself.

Decomposition – that’s when things rot, is down to the tiny bacteria that live on or inside the food. Many of these aren’t harmful but they release enzymes to break up the food so they can eat the nutrients themselves – making the food disintegrate. So make sure you eat your dinner before they do!

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