Flavour School | Dissection | Detection | Following

What is a banana? Let’s describe it by looking for detectable chemical substances inside of it!

As mentioned in Description, you have four descriptive methods at your disposal when attempting to elaborate a definition. One of these four descriptive methods is the Detection method.

What is detection?

In its simplest formulation, this method involves describing an object according to a plan that involves testing the object to see if there are any number of detectable substances present within it. In science, the search for detectable chemical elements or compounds is known as chemical analysis. The Detection method can be summarized in five questions:

  1. Are there carbohydrate molecules present within the specimen?
  2. Are there protein molecules present within the specimen?
  3. Are there fat (lipid) molecules present within the specimen?
  4. Are there certain vitamin molecules present within the specimen?
  5. Are there water molecules present within the specimen?

To answer the above questions, scientists can use various indicator solutions that are capable of changing colors when in the presence of certain types of molecules. They can also take advantage of the known properties of these molecules–such as their ability to dissolve in some liquids but not in others–and use that specific property to ‘trap’ them. Scientists often call the recipes (or instructions) for performing these types of tests “protocols.” Some of the protocols available to you for your testing of specimens are listed–and linked–below, but if you find other protocols you would like to try please let your teacher know.

Some useful detection tools…

  • Benedict’s solution protocol – a test for simple (reducing) sugars
  • Lugol’s iodine solution protocol – a test for starch
  • Biuret’s solution protocol – a test for protein
  • Sudan III Stain protocol – a test for fats (lipids)
  • Emulsion protocol – a test for fats/oils (lipids)
  • Dichlorophenolindophenol protocol – a test for vitamin C
  • Iodine titration protocol – a test for vitamin C
  • Dehydration protocol – a test for water
  • Personal qualities such curiosity, patience, persistence, and organization
  • A magnifying glass (or hand lens)
  • The camera feature of a mobile phone (or tablet)
  • Lab Notebook


  1. Your teacher asks that you record all of your Detection method work in your Lab Notebook.
  2. Your Detection method work should be identified by a title that closely resembles the following example: Banana weeLAB™ – Description (Detection)
  3. Your final ‘detected’ definition should be boxed (i.e., enclosed in a neatly drawn rectangle) and labelled by a title placed just outside–and above–the top left corner of the box (the title should be “Detected definition”).
  4. Finally, you should perform a word count of your final detected definition and list this word count just outside–and under–the bottom right corner of the boxed definition.

Proceed to FOLLOWING

Last updated: September 2019