Student Question

You are making a gelatin dessert, but the directions tell you not to use fresh pineapple because the gelatin will not solidify. Gelatin is a structural protein made from collagen. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain.

a) What effects does this protein have on collagen? 

b) Could you use cooked or canned pineapple insted? Explain your answer.

Expert Answers

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Bromelain is an enzyme found in fruits especially in pineapples. This enzyme has potential medical uses and is used as meat tenderizer. However, when it is cooked or canned, the ability of Bromelain is removed since the enzyme is heat-labile. That is the primary reason why canned pineapples are preferred over the fresh ones in preparing gelatin desserts. 

When fresh pineapples are added in the preparation of gelatin desserts, the Bromelain content of the fresh pineapples will break down the protein collagen component of the gelatin mixture thus preventing it to solidify as it cools down. We can just simply say that as the Bromelain eats up (digest) the protein thus preventing it to gel in. 

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