MadSci Network: Botany


Date: Sun Nov 30 17:07:09 2003
Posted By: David Hershey, Faculty, Botany, NA
Area of science: Botany
ID: 1070223307.Bt

Electrical conductivity (EC) depends on ions (charged atoms or molecules) in 
solution. Ions found in plant tissue include potassium (K+), proteins and 
organic acids, such as ascorbic acid and citric acid. Sugars and starch are 
uncharged molecules so do not conduct electricity. Therefore, the difference 
might be that potatoes have a higher concentration of ions in solution than 

Another possibility if you are measuring the EC in the intact tissue is that 
the tissue structure has an effect. The juice in lemons is stored in thousands 
of seperate juice vesicles, which could interfere with the flow of electricity 
because the solution is not continuous but contained in the vesicles. Potato 
tissue is more uniform and has no juice vesicles. A potato is a modified stem, 
and a lemon is a fruit. One way to test whether structure is important is to 
juice the lemon and liquify the potato tissue in a blender and see which juice 
has the highest electrical conductivity. Try it and see for yourself.

The USDA website cited first below says a raw lemon contains 145 mg of 
potassium, 77 mg of ascorbic acid, and 1.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. A 
raw potato has 407 mg of potassium, 19.7 mg ascorbic acid and 1.68 grams 
protein per 100 grams. Potato is 81.6% water by weight and a lemon is 87.4 % 
by weight. That USDA data suggest potato would have the higher electrical 
conductivity because of its much higher potassium content. 

However, the USDA site does not include citric acid content and lemons contain 
from about 3.7 to 8.4 grams of citric acid per 100 grams. Based on these 
numbers, I would guess that lemon juice would have a higher EC than potato 


USDA National Food Database

Citric acid

Lemon citric acid content

Re: can I get an electrical current to flow throught an apple pear...ect

Current Queue | Current Queue for Botany | Botany archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Botany.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2003. All rights reserved.