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SCIENCE FILE / An exploration of issues and trends
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I Didn't Know That. . .

April 08, 1999

Q. Why does bruised fruit turn brown?

A. Bruising or slicing breaks open cells in the fruit, exposing chemicals within the cells to oxygen. Many of these chemicals, especially, phenolic compounds, turn brown when they are oxidized. One way to prevent browning is to dip the fruit in solutions, such as orange juice, containing citric acid. Citric acid is easily oxidized and grabs oxygen molecules before they can attack the fruit's own chemicals.

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