|MadSci Network: Botany|
Hi Elizabeth, What an interesting science fair project. I have spoken with several professors in our department concerninig measuring ethanol. They couldn't think of an easy method for measuring ethanol. Most of the methods require sophisticated analytical instruments. One idea that we thought about was the breathalyzer used to meausre alcohol levels in intoxicated people. If you had the friut flies in a jar with the fruit, could you draw 5-10 ml of air into a syringe and somehow introduce the air into the breathalyzer. Perhaps, you could see if your local law enforecement personnel could work with you. The actual attractants for the fruit flies may be the aromatic compounds (ketones and aldehydes) formed during the fermentation of the fruit rather than the ethanol. I certainly wish you the best with this project. Al Bushway Professor of Food Sciecne
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