Jello is made from gelatin, which has a protein
called collagen in it. Fresh pineapple
has a protein enzyme that breaks down
collagen. Full-sized collagen is a long
stringy molecule. The enzyme in fresh
pineapple 'digests' the big collagen molecules
into little collagen molecules that are too short
to get tangled up and make a gel. So the
jello would be runny. But when pineapple is
canned, it gets heated, and the heat destroys
pineapple's enzyme protein so it is inactive and
can't 'digest' collagen proteins.
This is a really interesting question because
we know that we can put a lot of different fruit
in jello, so why can’t we make pineapple jello?
Let’s look at the process by which we make
jello. Jello starts out as a liquid and over time
will solidify. It does this by forming bridges
between jello molecules. Once enough bridges are
formed, the jello will solidify. Most
fruits can be ground up and added to the jello,
but pineapple has a specific property that makes
this impossible. Pineapples have an enzyme that
breaks the bridges that form to solidify the
jello. Enzymes are little biological machines
that can perform a specific task: in this case,
breaking down jello bridges! Because
pineapples have this enzyme, it makes it
impossible to form the briges that allow the jello
to solidify. Thank you for your question!
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