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THE 'C' IN CITRUS CHEMISTRY

Test how oxygen affects the amount of vitamin C contained in orange juice

Suitable For

Grade 8

Difficulty

3

Time Required

 <2 Weeks

Supervision

Required

What’s it about?

‘Vitamin C’, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the essential vitamins for good health. The actual function of ‘Vitamin C’ is to maintain strong connective tissue. If a person has an inadequate amount over a long period of time, they will suffer the deficiency disease called ‘scurvy’. We all know how important it is to get enough ‘Vitamin C’ in one’s diet, but how long does Vitamin C in fruit juice last? Find out in the following science experiment:

Topics covered

Vitamin C, Indicator, Iodine

What will I need?

  • ORANGE JUICE
  • MEDICINE DROPPER
  • TAP WATER
  • BOWL
  • CORNSTARCH
  • IODINE SOLUTION
  • 6x PLASTIC CUPS

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment we use a ‘chemical reaction’ that changes the colour of an ‘indicator’ (iodine) when there is a certain concentration of ‘Vitamin C’ in a given volume of juice. When iodine is mixed with cornstarch and water, a deep purple-blue coloured substance is formed. When the juice drops are added and when enough Vitamin C is added to this ‘indicator’, the purple-blue colour disappears. The lower the amount of orange juice drops that is required to turn the purple-blue colour white, the more Vitamin C is contained in the given fruit juice!

Vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning it will dissolve in water. Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, light and exposure to air. Over time, the vitamin C in the orange juice will oxidize, meaning it will combine with the air. The uncovered cups will oxidize a lot quicker than the covered cups and will loose the vitamin C a lot faster!

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