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Name: Lisa
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My 5th grade students are beginning an experiment next week and their hypothesis involves edibility(edibleness?). Is there a way to replicate the stomach in, say, a bottle?? Are there ways to test for edibleness(?) without actually ingesting the experiment yourself?

I would not recommend the idea of a bottle stomach. The stomach digests only proteins anyway with HCl [pH 1.0] which is very, very strong acid that will burn seriously if in contact with skin. The intestine is just as much responsible for digestion of lipids [bile], carbohydrates and remaining proteins using enzymes, many of these you do not want to be handling, let alone purchase. As a high school teacher, I have lab exercises dealing with digestion, but I can not recommend any of these unless you are set up with a functional science laboratory and all the safety equipment necessary.

You can illustrate mechanical digestion using a hammer to emulate the teeth and chemical digestion by soaking a chicken bone in vinegar overnight [the bone material will dissolve leaving the cartilage that is rubbery and pliable.]

Steve Sample

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