Pineapples and Proteins

Have you ever wondered how digestive enzymes work? How about the effects of food processing on some foods? In this project, the focus is the enzymes of pineapple. These enzymes are known as Bromelain, which is known to break down proteins. When you eat pineapples for dessert, you are helping your body’s digestive system deteriorate the complex proteins in your meal into simpler amino acids.

These amino acids are vital in the production of protein-based molecules such as muscle tissue and neurotransmitters.
Once bromelain is absorbed through the small intestines, it can reduce inflammation and irritation that causes imbalance and discomfort to your body. With the help of this project, you can see how bromelain works. Each step will test help assess the effects of Bromelain on protein.

What you need:
• A can of pineapple
• A fresh pineapple
• A liter or liquid Jell-O or a box of unflavored gelatin
• A package of frozen pineapple
• Goggles
• Teaspoon
• Test tube rack
• 4 Test tubes

How to do it:
1. Get a mixing bowl and prepare the gelatin or the liquid Jell-O using the directions indicated on the package.
2. Using a teaspoon, add 3 ml of liquid gelatin into each test tube.
3. Use your 1st test tube as your control. Do not put anything in it but the gelatin.
4. Place a piece of fresh pineapple into the 2nd test tube.
5. Place a piece of canned pineapple into the 3rd test tube.
6. Place a piece of frozen pineapple into the 4th test tube.
7. Rest the test tubes on the test tube rack.
8. Immerse the test tubes in an ice bath.
9. Remove all the test tubes when the 1st test tube’s gelatin has already set.

Are there any differences among the 4 test tube setups? What have you observed? How did the pieces of pineapple affect the gelatin in each test tube? What can you say about the pieces of pineapples and how they affected the gelatin?
You can modify this project by selecting another fruit that has a proteolytic enzyme like bromelain. Research it well. Device other methods by which you can observe how it acts on proteins.

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