Arizona Science Center: Apple Mummies

Mummification has been around for thousands of years, being conducted by humans, and by nature!

A mummy is a deceased person or animal whose skin, organs, or some tissue has been preserved! This makes mummies different from just a skeleton, because part of the organic matter, like skin, is saved over time. Normally, when something dies, it breaks down because of microbes, insects, and the natural way organic matter starts to decay. The key to mummification is drying – some things we see around us are preserved in a similar way like raisins, beef jerky, or freeze-dried fruit. If it can stay at a relatively constant temperature, dry, and away from critters and decomposers, it has a possibility to be preserved.

Nature can mummify from different conditions like extreme cold, extreme heat, and even bogs! In history, some civilizations have also used different techniques to mummify loved ones after passing. The Egyptians mummified their loved ones for the afterlife using something called natron, a natural mixture of baking soda and salt. This mixture desiccates or dries out the body. In this experiment, we will be able to “mummify” an apple! Observe the process of desiccation and see how mummification changes the way things break down!

Science Topics
Biology, Food Science
Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade
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