Friday, October 22, 2004

of rotten apples and stuff...

I really don't understand why people like using the phrase 'a rotten apple doesn't mean the entire basket's spoilt'.

Now, if you want to know, a rotten apple does spoil the entire basket of apples, or whatever fruits you put the rotten apple together. To study this, first we need to know what are the processes that make an apple rot.

As we all know, an apple can only start rotting after it has ripen. An unripe apple will not rot. So what makes an apple ripe? The synthesis of a plant hormone called ethylene. This hormone is called so because it has the same chemical structure as the natural two-carbon hydrocarbon, and it was already discovered that ethylene can trigger many processes in plants, and fruit ripening is one of them.

A fruit is considered ripe when it has soften, changed colours and produced a unique flavour. All these are initiated by another plant hormone called auxin. These changes occur when the auxin occupies the ethylene receptor in the plant (however, the specific site is yet to be identified) which leads to the synthesis of ethylene. The production of ethylene, in turn, switches on a few genes in the plant that triggers the production of several speific enzymes through various levels of transcription and translation of amino acids. It is the activities of these enzymes that naturally leads to fruit rotting.

To give an example, the enzyme cellulase will break down the cell walls in the fruit (which is made of cellulose) and causes the fruit to soften. When too many cell walls are broken down, the fruit will eventually rot after a short timespan.

And as for this discussion, when you put a rotten apple together with normal ripe apples, or even unripe apples (which is usually the case because fruits are plucked when they are still unripe so that they will reach the market just in time for the ripening process), the synthesis of ethylene in that particular rotten apple will subsequently result in a mass production of ethylene in the basket. When this happens, the entire basket of apples will definitely rot in a short while, turning unripe apples into ripe ones, and ripe ones into rotten ones.

So what I'm trying to say here is I've finished my finals and I'm back blogging and pissing off people. Enjoy the crap above and have a nice day.

2 comments:

tomatoinc said...

why are you saying "don't let a rotten apple spoil the entire basket"? is wrong, when you used almost 500 words to illustrate how a rotten apple will biologically cause the other apples to ripe/rot?

Livingmonolith said...

my apologies. what i meant is it's wrong when people use this proverb and say a rotten apple doesn't spoil the entire basket because when you put a rotten one together, it WILL spoil the other apples. thanks for telling me that, i didn't double-check my post and wrote in a hassle, hahaha... i've rephrased my sentence.