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Rotting food and half life

  1. Mar 25, 2012 #1
    Is the process of rotting food or any organic material directly related to the half life of its components?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2012 #2

    DaveC426913

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    No. Rotting food occurs at a cellular level. Bacteria attack the organics and break them down.
     
  4. Mar 25, 2012 #3
    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.
     
  5. Mar 25, 2012 #4

    DaveC426913

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    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.

    If you can find any evidence suggesting a link between normal food rotting and radioactive decay, I would be quite surprised.
     
  6. Mar 26, 2012 #5

    Borek

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    The notion of half life is not limited to radioactive decay.
     
  7. Mar 26, 2012 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Then perhaps the OP should be explicit.
     
  8. Mar 26, 2012 #7
    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?
     
  9. Mar 26, 2012 #8

    russ_watters

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    Do you mean radioactive half life or some other kind?
     
  10. Mar 26, 2012 #9
    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.
     
  11. Mar 26, 2012 #10

    russ_watters

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    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.
     
  12. Mar 27, 2012 #11
    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).
     
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