Rotting food and half life


by cesaruelas
Tags: food, life, rotting
cesaruelas
cesaruelas is offline
#1
Mar25-12, 09:15 PM
P: 53
Is the process of rotting food or any organic material directly related to the half life of its components?
Phys.Org News Partner Chemistry news on Phys.org
Repeated self-healing now possible in composite materials
Potent, puzzling and (now less) toxic: Team discovers how antifungal drug works
Research offers 'promise' of improved food safety
DaveC426913
DaveC426913 is offline
#2
Mar25-12, 09:33 PM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,325
Quote Quote by cesaruelas View Post
Is the process of rotting food or any organic material directly related to the half life of its components?
No. Rotting food occurs at a cellular level. Bacteria attack the organics and break them down.
cesaruelas
cesaruelas is offline
#3
Mar25-12, 09:56 PM
P: 53
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
No. Rotting food occurs at a cellular level. Bacteria attack the organics and break them down.
Organic material in an ideally bacteria-free environment would never decompose? or only then would its decomposition be linked to the half life of its components? BTW, thank you for answering.

DaveC426913
DaveC426913 is offline
#4
Mar25-12, 10:01 PM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,325

Rotting food and half life


Quote Quote by cesaruelas View Post
Organic material in an ideally bacteria-free environment would never decompose?
It would. Bacteria and fungus are a major source, but the organic material will decompose on its own as well. Cells leak. Fluids mix. Components lose integrity.

Quote Quote by cesaruelas View Post
or only then would its decomposition be linked to the half life of its components?
If you can find any evidence suggesting a link between normal food rotting and radioactive decay, I would be quite surprised.
Borek
Borek is online now
#5
Mar26-12, 02:13 AM
Admin
Borek's Avatar
P: 22,656
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
If you can find any evidence suggesting a link between normal food rotting and radioactive decay, I would be quite surprised.
The notion of half life is not limited to radioactive decay.
DaveC426913
DaveC426913 is offline
#6
Mar26-12, 08:45 AM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,325
Quote Quote by Borek View Post
The notion of half life is not limited to radioactive decay.
Then perhaps the OP should be explicit.
cesaruelas
cesaruelas is offline
#7
Mar26-12, 08:55 AM
P: 53
My point is, can you, under certain conditions (bacteria free, certain temperature, etc.) predict when will organic matter be "unconsumable" for a human being given you only know the halflife of its components and the concentration of each in the material to analize?
russ_watters
russ_watters is offline
#8
Mar26-12, 09:30 AM
Mentor
P: 21,994
Do you mean radioactive half life or some other kind?
cesaruelas
cesaruelas is offline
#9
Mar26-12, 11:33 AM
P: 53
I originally meant radioactive half life (since I was not aware the term was used to refer to any other type of half life). Is it linked to that half life or is there an equivalent concept for decomposition of organic molecules (proteins, carbohidrates, etc)? Thanks for your answers.
russ_watters
russ_watters is offline
#10
Mar26-12, 12:00 PM
Mentor
P: 21,994
The term can be used to describe any kind of exponential decay - for example, basketball team lifespan in a tournament.

However, for your question: our food is not significantly radioactive, so radioactive half life plays no role whatsoever in its decay as a food source.
surajt88
surajt88 is offline
#11
Mar27-12, 07:19 AM
P: 76
Not rotting in the exact sense, but may pertain to this thread as an example of degradation of food items without bacteria or fungi: Browning (food process).


Register to reply

Related Discussions
short hlaf life and long half life of epinephrine Biology 0
Half-Life real life application question Introductory Physics Homework 0
Half Life Introductory Physics Homework 1
Half Life and Half Life 2- The computer games General Discussion 25