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DOES CELERY TAKE IN SUGAR?

Does celery manufacture sugar, or do we have to feed sugar to it? This project is kind of like giving celery a drink. We will need three healthy, fresh stalks of celery, three jars, some clean sand, water, red food coloring, and sugar.

This project should be started at the beginning of the school day, because it takes some hours to develop. The first thing that needs to be done is to dissolve 2 tablespoons sugar in 1/4 cup water. Hot water dissolves sugar best, especially when it is stirred. While we're doing some other stuff for this project, the sugar will have more time to dissolve. Into each jar, we'll pour about three inches of sand, to help the celery have good posture and stand up straight. Into jar # 1 (we can put a number sticker on each jar), we will put 1/4 cup water. Into jar # 2 we will put a mixture of 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon of red food coloring. Into jar # 3 we will
add the sugar-water. Jar # 1 is called the "control" because we didn't try to do anything special to the celery in that jar.

By mid-afternoon, the celery should be ready for checking. Look at jar # 2, and if we can see the red color all the way up the celery stalk, we know that the project can be ended. Take the celery out of jar # 1 and rinse it so there isn't any sand clinging to it, and we'll cut it into sections about 1/2 inch long. The celery in jar # 2 will also be cut into 1/2-inch sections. These two stalks of celery look alike, so the way to test them is by tasting. The one with sugar should taste sweet, and the little droplets of moisture that appear when we cut it should taste like sugar. TASTING MUST NOT BE DONE BY STUDENTS WITH DIABETES OR HYPOGLYCEMIA. We won't taste the celery that we colored--we'll just admire it!

So why did we have a "control" jar? We wanted to be sure that celery does not manufacture sugar by itself. Now we know for a fact that celery "drinks" the liquid by transporting it up its conducting tubes. We also noticed that none of the sand traveled up the conducting tubes. That's because plants cannot take in particles.

I wonder if this experiment would work with other things we drink, like iced tea or fruit drinks? Probably mint-flavored water would give celery an interesting taste. Or lemon. Those would be fun projects for you to do at home with your families.

 
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