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Q & A: Jello in water

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Most recent answer: 12/10/2015
Why does jello not dissolve in water?
- teag (age 12)

First of all, the trademark JellO refers to a mixture that mainly consists of some proteins and artificial additives to provide flavoring and color. The protein fraction that I am referring to is gelatin, which is mostly derived from collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives the elastic strength to your connective tissues, which it owes to its ability to establish a plethora of hydrogen bonds between each other. That is, many collagen proteins can easily form somewhat robust networks by binding to each other. Therefore at low temperatures, collagens will tend to bind to each other tightly causing a low solubility. But you can dissolve significant amounts of it at high temperatures, which breaks these non-covalent intermolecular bons. If you now lower the temperature, they start sticking to each other again and cause gelation.


(published on 12/10/2015)

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