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SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT 2014

Arjun Rajan
4
th
Grade, GBW
Teacher: Ms. Malachowski
PH OR ACID LEVELS IN CITRUS FRUITS

Which Citrus Fruit Has the Most Acid?
PROBLEM

It is known that nutritional acids, such as Vitamin C,
are found in different kinds of fruits. Citrus fruits are the
most common acidic fruits. Some people however, do not
like to eat fruits with too much acid in them.
This experiment will determine which common citrus
fruit has the most acid: regular oranges, lemons, limes, or
grapefruits. This will be determined by measuring the
acidity of each fruit. The citrus fruit with the highest acidity
will be considered to be the fruit with the most acid.
HYPOTHESIS

If the type of citrus fruit changes then the acidity of the citrus
fruit will change. I think when the acidity of an orange, lemon,
lime, and grapefruit are tested, and compared to one another,
the lemon will have the highest acidity.


EXPERIMENT
( MATERI ALS & PROCEDURES)


MATERIALS
Citrus Fruit
3 lemons
3 limes
3 oranges
3 grapefruits
Litmus Paper (Acidic test Litmus paper or pH 1 - 14 Litmus paper)
3 strips for each type of fruit
Litmus Paper Scale Color Chart (usually provided with the Litmus paper)
Knife for cutting the fruit in half
Faucet or source of clean water used to rinse knife off after each fruit is cut in half to
avoid contamination
Roll of paper towels
Solid work surface for experimentation (ex.: table or
countertop)


EXPERIMENT
( MATERI ALS & PROCEDURES)


PROCEDURES
1. Select one of the fruits and cut it in half using the knife. It doesn’t matter which
type of fruit you start with.

2. Set both halves on the work surface with the skin side of the fruit touching the
surface. Be sure not to let anything touch the fruit’s flesh to avoid any
contamination.

3. Take one strip of Litmus paper and touch it to the flesh of the fruit for about 2
seconds, just long enough for the fruit’s juices to soak into the Litmus paper strip.

4. The Litmus paper containing the fruit’s juice will begin to change colors. Wait
until you observe that the paper has stopped changing colors.


EXPERIMENT
( MATERI ALS & PROCEDURES)


PROCEDURES
5. Once the Litmus paper has reached its final color, compare it to the colors on the
scale color chart. The color of the Litmus paper containing the fruit juice should
closely match one of the colors on the scale.

6. Record the number associated with the matching color. This number corresponds
to the acidity level of the fruit tested.

7. Rinse or wash the knife to get rid of any juice from the fruit that was just cut.

8. Wipe the knife dry with a paper towel.

9. Dispose of BOTH halves of the fruit AND the paper towel used to dry the knife.

10. Repeat this process 3 times for each type of fruit. Use a different fruit each time
you test.

DATA

Citrus Fruit pH
Trial 1
pH
Trial 2
pH
Trial 3
Average
pH

LIME

2.5

2

2

2.17

GRAPEFRUIT

3.5

3.5

4

3.67

ORANGE

4

4

4

4

LEMON

2

1.5

2

1.83
pH SCALE = 1 – 14
LOWER pH = MORE ACID
HIGHER pH = LESS ACID

DATA


RESULTS

According to the data collected, the lemon has the lowest pH at an average of
1.83, which means its juice is the most acidic. The average pH of the orange is
4, 3.67 for the grapefruit, and 2.17 for the lime. The pH of the orange and the
grapefruit are fairly close to each other. Likewise, the pH of the lemon and
lime are close.

0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
Lime Grapefruit Orange Lemon
2.17
3.67
4
1.83
pH
Type of Citrus Fruit
Type of Citrus Fruit vs pH
CONCLUSION
The pH of each fruit was measured three different times. Each
measurement was taken from a separate piece of fruit, not the same fruit each
time. The average pH of those measurements was taken into account to form the
concluding statement.
When the pH of the juice of a lime, grapefruit, orange, and lemon was
measured, the lemon had the lowest average pH of 1.83.
This indicates that the lemon also has the most acid because the lower the pH, the
more acidic a substance is.
These findings support my original hypothesis that the lemon would have
the most acid. In the future, I would like to study further the nutritional or health
benefits of eating too much, or too little, acidic fruits. I am also curious about
finding out some of the risks that may be involved in consuming too much acidic
fruit. For example, I have been told that acidic fruit, especially citrus fruits which
tend to be highly acidic, can ruin tooth enamel. I believe that healthy teeth are very
important so this could be simply one of the concerns I may want to investigate
further.