What is the white stringy stuff in the photo? That is strawberry DNA! You can see DNA as well with just a few household ingredients and materials. Strawberry season is almost here and sometimes… well not every strawberry is great. You can mash just 3 of these up over spring break or the summer for a little in home science experiment!
-1 tall glass
-1 small jar like baby food size
-1 Tb. dish soap
-1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
-cheesecloth – about 12″
-funnel (even one for canning will work)
-1/2 tsp. salt
- Put the rubbing alcohol bottle in the freezer to get it cold for later.
- Into a measuring cup, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup water and 1 Tb. of dish soap. Stir until mixed well! This is the extraction liquid.
- Now, take your funnel and put the cheesecloth on top. Put the funnel and cheesecloth on top of your tall glass.
- Wash and remove the tops off of the strawberries. Add them to a plastic sandwich bag that can be resealed. Mash them for about 2 minutes.
Make sure to squeeze the air out of the bag and if the bag gets a small hole, just put the bag inside of another bag.
- Take 3 Tb. of the extraction liquid and add it to the mashed strawberries. Mix that around another minute or so.
- Carefully, pour the strawberry mix through the prepped cheesecloth funnel and into the glass.
- Next, pour that strawberry liquid into your small baby food jar until it is only one-quarter the way full. You can make another experiment with the remaining strawberry liquid in the tall glass, or just throw it away.
- Remove the rubbing alcohol from the freezer. Pour about 1/3 cup of it into a clean measuring cup. GENTLY tip your baby food jar slightly and gently and slowly pour the alcohol into the baby food jar. Stop when you have 1 inch of alcohol in the jar. Try to not mix the alcohol and strawberry mixture.
- Observe and admire!
I found this experiment at a Food Festival actually. There were STEM booths and one had this on it. But we never saw how they did it and I found the experiment online here at Scientific American.
I wonder what it would look like under a microscope.
Whisk Together says
Good question!!! We have one… but it goes up to 40x so we wouldn’t see the double helix. We have a microscope, but I don’t have the attachment to take photos.